Canadian Labour Congress

Canadian Labour Congress

February 26, 2008 17:24 ET

Canadian Labour Congress: An Unbalanced and Unfair Budget

Government is Running Away with $55 Billion Owed to the Unemployed

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 26, 2008) - The Canadian Labour Congress says today's budget makes one thing clear for ordinary working people trying to make ends meet in an economy that offers less: this government is not on your side.

Calling Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's budget 'unbalanced and unfair', Ken Georgetti, president of the Canadian Labour Congress, says the federal government has its priorities all wrong. They take away money from the jobless and create tax shelters for the rich.

"For over a decade we saw these budgets that gave away money to business and failed to bring benefits to working people. Four days ago, Statistics Canada released a study showing that over the last ten years Canadians who work for wages are getting poorer and their jobs are less secure. Meanwhile, the already-rich have been getting richer. When will these budgets focus on the needs and aspirations of ordinary working families?" asked Georgetti.

According to Georgetti, if the numbers have been balanced in today's budget announcement, the priorities are way off.

Georgetti noted that there is no action in this budget to address further loss of good jobs in staple industries like manufacturing and forestry. Instead, the budget gave us another tax shelter scheme that will only benefit the very affluent. He says working parents would benefit far more from help finding child care and early learning spaces for their kids, or help paying for expensive prescription drugs, or repairs to crumbling public infrastructure, or even better job skills training more than they would from another tax shelter scheme.

"It is irresponsible for a government, whatever its political stripes, to ignore the fate of the 350,000 workers who lost good manufacturing and forestry jobs over the past five years," says Georgetti.

One thing both manufacturers and unions, and most recently the Ontario government, have called for is a strong "Buy Canadian" policy for all government purchasing, similar to what can be found in the United States, Mexico and Europe. Combined with bold investments in new public infrastructure, such a policy would give the economy a shot in the arm like no tax cut could ever deliver.

"Unemployed workers across the country will be angry when they realize the government intends through this budget to run away with $55 billion from the EI fund. It is immoral to take away from the jobless in the current economic climate."

"Government is supposed to help people, not give away all of its resources so it can't," says Georgetti.

The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.2 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada's national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 136 district labour councils. Web site:

Contact Information

  • Canadian Labour Congress
    Jeff Atkinson
    613-526-7425 and 613-863-1413
    Canadian Labour Congress
    Jean Wolff
    613-526-7431 and 613-878-6040