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REGINA: The Saskatchewan Division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees is urging the provincial government to use its higher-than-expected energy revenues to pursue a more aggressive social agenda in its mid-year economic statement today.

In last week’s throne speech, the provincial government began to articulate a promising social vision with positive announcements of $30 million in increased funding for community-based organizations and an expansion of early learning and child care programs,” said Tom Graham, president of CUPE Saskatchewan. “The Calvert government should use its surplus oil and gas revenues to expand its vision of an unbreakable social fabric where no one gets left behind,” said Graham. “Regina is facing school closures, our university students are paying some of the highest tuition fees in the country and people on social assistance exist way below the poverty line. The province needs to address these urgent priorities by boosting funding for our K-12 education system, universities, child care and social programs.”

Graham urged the provincial government to resist the cries of business lobby groups and the official opposition to use the increased oil and gas revenues for further tax cuts.

Over the last decade, the provincial government has served up a smorgasbord of tax cuts for businesses and high-income earners,” he said. “There’s simply no compelling evidence that suggests business taxes need to be cut further. Saskatchewan is experiencing high rates of economic growth and investment and our corporate taxes are not out of line with our neighbouring provinces.”

The CUPE Saskatchewan president also pointed to a report by business consulting firm KPMG that shows Saskatoon is the second least costly city in Midwest North America in which to operate a business.

CUPE represents 26,000 public sector workers in Saskatchewan who work at health care facilities, municipalities, school boards, universities, libraries and community-based organizations.

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For more information, contact:

Tom Graham