Economic and Fiscal Update Notes for Release
Paul Moist National President Canadian Union of Public Employees - CUPE
“Today’s Fiscal and Economic Update shows that Stephen Harper’s government is trying to buy the votes of Canadians with the promise of more and more tax cuts that will lead to deep spending cuts in the future,” said Paul Moist, national president of Canada’s largest union - CUPE.
“The “plan for economic opportunity” shows a narrowness of economic vision that ignores the most pressing problem facing Canada: increasing regional and social inequalities,” added Moist. “We need direct public investments in our future and not more tax cuts and privatization that have failed to improve productivity increase the standard of living of hardworking Canadians.”
Corporate profits have reached record highs and executives have granted themselves massive pay hikes. But ordinary hardworking Canadians have gained little from the past few years of economic growth. Average wages have barely kept up with inflation while the cost of living and fees for public services have been increased. The price to pay for more deep tax cuts will be even deeper cuts to public services and transfers, which will hurt all Canadians and particularly the most vulnerable.
“Instead of short-term tax cuts, we need greater direct public investments that produce real and long-lasting benefits for Canadians,” Moist said. “The federal government needs to restore and increase transfers for education to reduce the cost of tuition, restore funding for child care programs, community literacy programs and social services.”
“Experience has shown that individual vouchers and tax incentives are costly and ineffective in comparison with support to non-profit education and community literacy programs,” added Moist.
“Stephen Harper’s infrastructure plan isn’t what municipalities – or Canadians – need. It is clear that the Conservatives are using federal money to try and force municipalities and provinces into public-private partnerships for infrastructure projects.”
“Our experience has shown that P3 projects cost more, reduce citizen control through privatization and cloak projects in a shroud of secrecy so the public has almost no information on what they are paying for. Municipalities need increased transfers without being forced into costly and wasteful P3 deals,” explained Moist.
Canadians know what to think about Harper’s first set of five priorities, which included ending federal funding for child care programs and a failed proposal that hasn’t increased child care spaces, a health care wait times guarantee that hasn’t improved health care, a GST cut that did little to reduce the cost of living, and an Accountability Act that leaves government contracts with private companies off the hook. Other promises are being increasingly ignored or broken.
It is clear that Harper will not live up to his promise to fix the fiscal imbalance and the equalization program. Increasing the Canada Social Transfer and fixing the equalization program would provide provinces with funding needed to improve education and social programs.
For more information:
Paul Moist, National President - CUPE – (613) 558-2873 (cell)
Toby Sanger, Economist – CUPE – (613) 237-1590 #241, Cell: (613) 720-6955