Finance Minister Bill Morneau should have learned from the Trump administration’s mistakes on corporate tax cuts, says the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). Instead, he’s repeating them, by committing $14 billion over the next five years in corporate tax cuts.
“It’s been a year since the Trump tax cuts went into effect, and instead of the jobs bonanza that American workers were promised, we’ve seen the largest companies in the US eliminate nearly 140,000 jobs,” said CUPE National President Mark Hancock. “Why is the government throwing good money after bad?”
Hancock noted a University of British Columbia study out today which estimates 731,000 Canadians are going into debt to cover their out-of-pocket prescription drug costs. “With a year until the next election, today was the ideal time for the Liberals to begin implementing a national pharmacare plan. Millions of Canadians unable to pay for life-saving medications can’t afford to wait another electoral cycle for this government to get its priorities straight – we need pharmacare now.”
Corporate giveaways are the least stimulative form of government spending, and they leave Canadians with a widening deficit that could be used to justify more cuts to public services down the line. CUPE believes the government should instead be taking action to make a meaningful difference in everyday peoples’ lives right now, like addressing the skyrocketing cost of everything from prescription drugs to housing.
“Canada’s social safety net and quality public services already make Canada ‘competitive’ as a great place to live and work,” said CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer Charles Fleury. “Fourteen billion dollars of public money on corporate welfare is $14 billion we’re not spending on a universal pharmacare plan or more affordable housing. The Liberal government must do better.”
CUPE is also alarmed to see the economic update include $755 million for “social finance” which promotes profit-driven private investment in public services.
A $298 million investment in making federal facilities more accessible is a welcome investment, and CUPE is also encouraged by $88 million in funding for the federal inquiry on missing and murdered Indigenous women.