In an address to more than 2,000 leaders of Britain’s largest union, CUPE National President Paul Moist warned about the harsh realities of the so-called ‘Canadian model’ for public spending cuts that the country’s new coalition government wants to pursue to axe services and jobs.
At the Unison conference in Bournemouth, Moist recounted what the federal Chrétien Liberal government did when they took power in 1993 with Canada facing some financial challenges.
Over the next few years Ottawa slashed health spending and pushed Medicare privatization, attacked unemployment benefits and student grants, and all but eliminated social housing building. Significant costs were offloaded to other levels of government.
Balancing the federal books, he said, “destroyed the social fabric” of the country.
And Moist told British unionists that Canada still reports the lowest per capita spending on public services of all the G7 members.
Moist had a stark warning for the Bournemouth delegates. “Looking at your new coalition government,” he said, “I feel as though I’ve been to that movie before.
“Cameron and Clegg seem infatuated with my country and the so-called Canadian model, the slaying of the deficit and taming of the debt.
“But Canada is no model, no model at all for your country to follow when it comes to managing the finances of the nation, if the price you pay is a terrible imbalance in society.”
Meanwhile, France also appears enamoured by the so-called Canadian model. Recently CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer Claude Généreux did a lengthy interview with French television news to provide the real facts about the long-term damage caused by deep cuts.