“Despite its pledge to ‘lead the way on jobs and growth,’ today’s budget lacks a plan to put Canadians back to work,” said CUPE National President Paul Moist.
“There are over 1.5 million Canadians currently out of work. They deserve a government plan that involves more than massive tax cuts and wishful thinking.”
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Today’s federal budget signaled plans to forge ahead with Advantage Canada, a government blueprint introduced in 2006 calling for increased deregulation, corporate tax cuts, privatization and aggressive free trade.
“Advantage Canada relies heavily on the same laissez-faire policies that contributed to the global economic meltdown. It’s hard to understand how these same policies will create good jobs in Canada,” said Moist.
Moist says that with Canada poised for a significant demographic change, this budget required greater forward-thinking.
“We are on the precipice of a great skilled labour shortage, we have no industrial strategy, and as the baby boom generation moves into retirement, many Canadians are realizing they lack adequate pension security.”
“A do-nothing budget that relies largely on tax cuts will not solve any of these problems. In fact, it will only create more problems in the form of a jobless recovery, and a dwindling tax base that can’t pay for the public services that millions of Canadians rely on. Some of Canada’s most prominent bank economists have urged the government to maintain the tax base. Sadly, it appears they haven’t listened.”
Moist says that a more pro-active budget would have addressed unemployment and pension issues head-on.
“Ten premiers and three territorial leaders have been calling for a national summit on pensions. Spring ‘consultations’ and a national seniors’ day doesn’t cut it. And given Canada’s manageable deficit, the government could afford to make some strategic public investments that would create jobs and leave something lasting for future generations.”
“Canada’s municipal infrastructure deficit exceeds $120 billion. We are also sitting on a golden opportunity to invest in green infrastructure, which would create long-term savings and sustainability. Sadly, this budget has chosen to stay the course - and go nowhere.”