“The Harper Conservatives’ insistence on moving ahead with corporate tax cuts in the 2011 federal budget is irresponsible, and will do little to help Canadian workers,” says Paul Moist, national president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
“Banks, the finance industry, and oil companies are showing huge profits, while tens of thousands of Canadians are still without jobs and struggling to recover from the global economic meltdown,” says Moist. “It is unconscionable for this government to keep ignoring the needs of Canadians in favour of their Bay Street backers.”
The extension of corporate tax cuts will mean at least $4 billion in lost revenues in the coming fiscal year alone. Beyond a vague announcement on working for a long-term infrastructure plan with the provinces and territories, there was little set aside by the Harper Conservatives for infrastructure or job creation investments.
“The jobs and investments promised by way of these tax cuts have not materialized,” says Moist. “Canada’s municipal infrastructure is crumbling and in dire need of investments, which in turn are proven job creators. Tackling the $125 billion infrastructure deficit would have been a wise move for the economy.”
Moist specifically points to the limited increase in health care spending as another sign of how out of touch the Harper Conservatives are on the priorities of Canadians.
“The health care transfer agreement with the provinces is about to expire, and now is the time to start talking about how to strengthen our public health care system,” says Moist. “Passing up this opportunity shows a lack of leadership and vision from this government.”
Moist says even when the budget does address pressing needs – such as enhancing the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)– it doesn’t go far enough to be truly effective.
“GIS increases are a small step in the right direction, but all Canadians should view the promise to work for a Canada Pension Plan enhancement with caution. The Harper Conservatives have made this pledge before only to back away at the last minute,” says Moist. “Like everything else in this budget, Canadians are being thrown a few bits and pieces instead of real, substantial help in recovering from the recession.”