Campbell’s political supporters rewarded at the expense of public services, union argues
BURNABY, B.C. – For the second time, B.C.’s Liberal government has delivered a massive post-election giveaway to their corporate supporters that was kept hidden during the election campaign, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) said today, in response to the provincial budget announcement.
The 1.5-percent corporate tax cut, from 13.5 percent to 12 percent, is over and above the tax cuts promised during the provincial election campaign.
“The budget speech talks about reaching out to seniors, but it is corporations that have the biggest take,” said CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill.
“That tax cut will cost the government $163 million next year. That is money that has been paid for by cuts in services over the last four years. It’s money that was paid for by closed schools, reduced legal aid, cuts to environmental programs and the cuts to seniors that this budget restores. Is this a reward for the premier’s Howe Street friends?”
The biotechnology sector, O’Neill noted, gets a $20-million-per-year cut. Hector Mackay-Dunn, a major investor and advocate for the B.C. biotech sector, was on the provincial Liberal planning committee leading up to the May 17 election.
“Meanwhile, the B.C. Liberals have been saying the province ‘can’t afford’ wage increases. Well, we all know that’s not true: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada figures show that B.C. has the lowest annual wage increases in the country.”
O’Neill also commented on the government’s decision to cancel the traditional budget “lock-up” for non-governmental organizations. Until today, business and labour groups, non-profits and professional organizations were given a chance to see the budget documents before the budget speech was delivered.
“This is a break with what has been a parliamentary tradition in B.C. But it’s entirely in keeping with the Liberal philosophy to reduce the oversight of government with cuts to the Auditor General, to the Ombudsman and to the Freedom of Information Commissioner’s office,” said O’Neill.
CUPE BC president