Canadian Labour Congress

Canadian Labour Congress

April 04, 2006 17:39 ET

CLC: Throne Speech Misses the Real Priorities of Working Families

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - April 4, 2006) - "Dozens of times, while campaigning in December and January, the Prime Minister promised that 'a new Conservative government will get on with addressing the real priorities of ordinary working people and their families,' " says Ken Georgetti, president of the Canadian Labour Congress, in reaction to today's Throne Speech.

"The Canadian Labour Congress represents over three million workers. Add their families and they equal more than a third of the Canadian population. We talk to them continuously and we know their needs and aspirations. They have told us what they expect from their government in Ottawa."

Working families expected the Throne Speech to address:

- The provision of real choice for working parents by honoring the agreements that were signed with the provinces to create high-quality, and safe child care spaces across the country. Income supports to parents of young children should not come at the expense of a program which allows working families to balance work and family responsibilities while giving all children a good start in life.

- The need to strengthen our public health care system with enforcement of the Canada Health Act; commitment to a pan-Canadian, publicly-managed pharmacare plan to provide fair access to affordable prescription drugs; and a willingness to halt and reverse the establishment of private for-profit clinics, private hospitals, and public-private partnerships in health care.

- Investments in the skills of workers to achieve not only better social inclusion and equity, but also higher productivity and competitiveness for the whole economy.

- A jobs' strategy because thousands of working families have to cope with a major job market crisis. The federal government must lead with a serious and co-ordinated response by all levels of government working closely with labour and employers.

- The protection of workers' retirement security that is increasingly endangered by the shift to more precarious jobs, the greater fragility of workplace pension plans, the inadequacy of bankruptcy and insolvency laws and the limited scope of public pensions.

"These are the real priorities on the kitchen table at the end of the month. Why are they not the priorities of this government as promised in the campaign? We will continue to press the Conservative government to act in the best interest of working Canadians," concludes Georgetti.

The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada's national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 135 district labour councils. Web site:

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