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(Ottawa) Paul Martin has delivered a conservative budget that gives cash to cronies but crumbs to the rest of us, said the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in response to todays federal budget.

The Throne Speech may have been written for Jack Layton but the budget is written for Stephen Harper, said Paul Moist, CUPE National President, commenting on Paul Martins first budget as Prime Minister.

This budget doesnt cut waiting times for surgery by a single day, said Moist, agreeing with Canadas premiers that the federal government is putting debt ahead of Canadians #1 priority health care. Paul Martin is doing nothing to stop the creeping privatization of our health care system, allowing our taxes to be diverted from quality care to corporate profits.

CUPEs National Secretary-Treasurer Claude Gnreux said Martin is deliberately starving public health care because he wants to create a crisis and then offer his corporate cronies as the solution to growing waiting lists.

CUPE notes with alarm Paul Martins steadfast commitment to privatization and so-called public-private partnerships (P3s), a policy which this budget maintains at a time when Canadian concern for accountability is at an all-time high.

If corporations can skim off $100 million from a $250 million sponsorship budget, imagine how much Martins business backers can pocket from a $3 billion infrastructure fund, said Moist.

CUPE welcomes increased support to cities but warns that tying investments for transit, water treatment and hospitals to P3s is like giving corporations a license to print money.

Hang on to your wallets, said Gnreux. Paul Martin is not only cutting corporate taxes, hes pushing privatization so his corporate cronies can profit from delivering public services.

This is the ninth Martin budget and each time it gets worse, said Moist. We need to start tackling the social deficit and the way to do that isnt by padding the profits of big business and giving them a slice of every public service.

CUPE is Canadas largest union, representing more than a half million public service workers.


For more information, please contact:
Paul Moist, National President, cell (613) 558-2873, o (613) 237-1590 ext. 224
Claude Gnreux, National Secretary-Treasurer, cell (613) 794-8395, o (613) 237-1590 ext. 201
David Robbins, Communications Officer, cell (613) 878-1431, o (613) 237-1590 ext. 268