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(OTTAWA) “Theres more grief than relief in this budget,” said Judy Darcy, National President of the 475,000 member strong Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). “Instead of investing the surplus in the vital services that Canadians have identified as their priorities, Paul Martin has chosen to squander his big chance.”

Darcy was responding to the federal budget released today that emphasizes tax breaks when Canadians have been calling for a major reinvestment in health care, education, child care and public services.

“What goods a tax cut that amounts to the price of a cup of coffee a day, if you cant get a hospital bed when you need it or child care for your kids? It just doesnt make any sense,” Darcy said.

Canadas health care system is under-funded and overburdened. “You cant fix the health care system with one shot funding because health care planning doesnt happen in one-year cycles. Todays announcement will not re-establish a credible leadership role for the federal government in health,” said Darcy.

“Paul Martin has essentially given Ralph Klein a green light to begin the privatization of health care services. This is unforgivable.

“This budget could have taken the wheels off the privatization bandwagon being driven by provinces like Alberta and Ontario but its failed. Some provinces are revving their engines, eager to let huge corporations into our health care system and other valued public programs. Serious under-funding gives them the green light to further dismantle our programs,” concluded Darcy.

CUPE, Canadas largest and fastest growing union, represents 475,000 women and men working in health care, emergency services, education, municipalities, social services, libraries, utilities, transportation and airlines, including 140,000 health care workers.

For further budget analysis, check CUPEs web site at www.cupe.ca.

For further information, contact:
Catherine Louli, CUPE Communications
(613) 237-1590 ext. 268 or (613) 851-0547 (cell)

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