Ottawa - Paul Moist, national president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees met this morning with the Standing Committee on Finance to present CUPE’s recommendations and priorities for the 2007-2008 Federal Budget.
His comments included:
“The theme of this year’s pre-budget consultation is ‘Canada’s place in a competitive world’. Competitiveness and productivity should not be pursued as goals or ends in themselves – but only in terms of whether they improve our overall quality of life.
“ A well functioning and democratic society, with high levels of transparency, accountability, equality and democratic participation is not only a fundamental goal in itself, but it is also a pillar for economic progress.
“ Much more needs to be done to improve transparency and democracy in the budgetary process. Earlier this week we found that the federal government, after no consultation with those affected, would be cutting funding from many important programs and organizations – right after declaring a surplus of over $13 billion for the last year.
The focus of the federal government on reducing business costs and cutting taxes is a very narrow view of international competitiveness that is neither shared by international experts nor by the most competitive countries in the world.
“The most productive and competitive countries in the world recognize the importance of maintaining high levels of public investment in health, education, training, social supports, infrastructure, and post-secondary education. Tax rates, and business and regulatory costs are a very minor part of the international competitiveness equation.”
The priorities and recommendations of the Canadian Union of Public Employees for the 2007/08 Federal Budget include:
- Making federal spending and tax measures more transparent, accountable and democratic.
- Reducing inequality by reforming the EI system, increasing social transfers, reforming Equalization and making work pay.
- Increase federal transfers for post-secondary education.
- Investment in quality and affordable child care.
- Maintain an active federal role in training and supporting workplace-based skills, including through Labour Market Partnership Agreements.
- Strengthen Canada’s public advantage in health care.
- Meet commitments to First Nations and Aboriginal Canadians.
- Proactive environmental measures.
- Increased public investments in infrastructure.
CUPE represents over half a million workers across Canada.
CUPE Senior Economist
613-237-1590 ext. 241
613-237-1590 ext. 334