Conservatives hoodwinking Canadians in quest for majority
OTTAWA – Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s first budget abandons children, working families and a federal role in social programs, warns CUPE.
Far from “Standing up for Canada”, Harper’s first budget lays out a plan for the federal government to walk out on important areas of national responsibility.
“Harper’s fixation with tax cuts is driving the federal government to abandon its role in providing quality public services,” said Paul Moist, national president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.
“There is absolutely nothing in this budget that will build the quality early learning and child care program children and families deserve,” Moist said. “The Conservatives are essentially wiping out the first national social program in a generation.”
The Conservatives are hitting working people and communities hard. The 1 per cent reduction in the Goods and Services Tax will cost Ottawa over $5 billion a year in lower revenue, creating pressure to cut program spending. Worse, Harper is increasing the tax load of working families by about $200 per year by increasing the lowest income tax rate and reducing the basic tax allowance.
“Canadians should not be fooled. Insisting on tax cuts today will lead to program cuts tomorrow,” Moist warned.
In all, the government is proceeding with over $21 billion in tax cuts over the next two years and only $8 billion in spending. Most of the new spending is going to the misguided Conservative child care benefit instead of to a real program, as well as to increased spending on police, defence and security. The funding for infrastructure is welcome but is not enough to alleviate Canada’s infrastructure deficit. The budget also serves up cuts to education, training, research and development, aboriginal Canadians and the environment.
“The federal government is fast tracking tax cuts, but digging in its heels on spending commitments,” said Moist. “Stay tuned for the sequel if the Conservatives win a majority in the next election – more tax cuts for the wealthy, massive spending cuts for the rest of us and more money on so-called ‘security’ to keep us in line.”
CUPE is Canada’s largest union, with 550,000 members providing public services in communities across the country, including health care, child care, municipal services and more.
Contact: Paul Moist, National President, (613) 558-2873; Claude Généreux, National Secretary-Treasurer (porte-parole francophone), (514) 884-5074; David Robbins, CUPE Communications, cell (613) 878-1431