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The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) wants the Harper government to choose a strong social safety net over tax cuts in next week’s federal budget.

The government must carefully consider how they will spend our public revenues,” said CUPE National President Paul Moist. “Tax cuts will cripple the government’s ability to provide the social services that struggling Canadians so desperately need during a recession and beyond. Public services need to be seen as a form of wealth that Canadians can invest in, both to care for people long term, and to create new jobs to stimulate the economy.”

In addition to supporting a strong public sector, CUPE calls for a budget that supports infrastructure, workers, relief for the vulnerable, and provides better protection for pensions and investments.

Encourage Infrastructure:
Federal funding for municipal infrastructure should be doubled to $12 billion a year. Infrastructure funding should be limited to publicly-financed and operated projects, with a strong focus on green infrastructure and tied to made-in-Canada procurement measures.

Support Workers:
This budget should not make the same mistake as the ill-fated fiscal update and attack workers. The government must work with labour, understanding that our country’s workers are the backbone of our economy.

Provide Relief:
Strengthen and improve employment insurance for the 60 per cent of unemployed Canadians currently unable to receive EI benefits. The EI waiting period should be eliminated and a uniform national entrance requirement of 360 hours must be adopted, with benefits based on 60 per cent of earnings. Protect pensions with a guarantee fund, immediate increases to Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement, and phased-in increases to CPP/QPP.

Invest in Our Future:
Maintain public ownership of public assets and infrastructure. Resist any further attempts at privatization, including risky, overpriced public private partnerships. Improve governance of our financial institutions. Invest in social infrastructure programs – especially early learning and child care, home care, long-term care and for Aboriginal and First Nations communities.

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For further information:
CUPE Media Relations - (613) 794-7867