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TORONTO – Ontario’s fall economic outlook is misleading when it suggests the economy is doing as well as can be expected and the government is doing everything it can to support recovery, CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn said today.

With three budgets and four economic statements since the Wall Street crash and with continued high unemployment and low growth, it is now inescapable that the real barrier to growth is the Liberals’  economic policy of ‘austerity’ – a misguided approach the PC’s would embrace even more fervently,” Hahn said. 

There are three key players necessary to any economic recovery:  business, government and people.  This government has the wrong economic policy for each one,” said Hahn.      

Liberal policy fails to hold business to account for their role in the economy, providing corporations with billions of dollars in tax cuts, but offering no incentive for them to invest billions of dollars in “dead money”  that Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney identified. Their budget strategy for government focuses on pulling money out of the economy—including $18 billion in program spending over the next three years. On the third pillar, the Liberals are pursuing legislation that will reduce the spending capacity of three-quarters of a million Ontarians.

The Liberals have got it wrong every way possible, and Tim Hudak says he’d make all the same mistakes, only faster,” said Hahn. “Why are the Liberals and Tories still pursuing discredited austerity strategies when even IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde says investment, not cuts, is the best path to economic growth?” Hahn asked.  

The Ontario Economic Statement reports that the deficit is lower than expected and with interest rates expected to stay low through to 2014.

That is the perfect climate to support new investments by government, which encourages investments by business, and builds confidence among consumers. That approach, with the prudent addition of new tax measures to allow corporations to assume their share and help get the province back to a balanced budget, would be a better recipe for recovery,” Hahn said.

The CUPE Ontario president says it’s not too late for the Ontario government to change course and he hopes to see a new direction emerge in the preparation for the Ontario 2013 budget.

CUPE Ontario is the province’s community union, representing workers in every Ontario community – some 230,000 people, who provide services in schools, universities, health care, social services and municipalities. CUPE is actively resisting attempts by the government to remove Charter-protected rights to free collective bargaining in Ontario. 

For more information, please contact:

Craig Saunders, CUPE Communications, 416-576-7316