'The Harper government’s priorities are dead wrong.' - NUPGE president James Clancy.
Ottawa (12 Oct. 2010) – The economic update released today by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty shows a government radically out of touch with the priorities of Canadians.
Canada's economic recovery has been slow and fragile with a national unemployment rate that remains painfully high at 8%.
The role and responsibility of the federal government in this situation is to invest in the economy, create jobs and support vulnerable families.
Instead, as the new economic update makes clear, Stephen Harper plans no new stimulus initiatives and instead will push an austerity agenda on Canadians in next year’s federal budget.
In other words, Harper plans to slam the brakes on what the country needs and slash public spending as soon as he feels he is politically able to do so.
This can only mean sharp cuts to vital public services that Canadian families rely on every day – like health care, education, social services and income support programs.
Makes no sense
This is not the smart or right choice to make. In fact, it makes no sense at all.
Cuts to public spending will lead to even slower economic growth and will mean less support for struggling families at a time when quality public services are needed more than ever.
Harper could make a different choice. He could cancel the irresponsible corporate tax cuts that will cost the federal treasury a whopping $47 billion over the next four years.
James Clancy, president of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), says these massive corporate tax cuts serve with each passing year to deepen the national deficit hole that Harper’s policies have created.
“The Harper government doesn’t seem to understand that the first thing to do when you are in a hole is stop digging,” says Clancy. “If they’re so concerned about reducing the deficit why give away billions of dollars to Canada’s most profitable corporations, including the banks and oil companies?”
Clancy says it is unfair for families to accept cuts to public services because of deficits when at the same time the Harper government continues to give handouts to wealthy corporations.
“The Harper government’s priorities are dead wrong,” says Clancy. “Canadians are hurting. Many families face tremendous insecurity and hardship because of inadequate Employment Insurance and pension benefits.”
Cancel corporate cuts
Clancy is urging the government to cancel its remaining corporate tax cuts and invest the money in families that need help.
Corporate tax cuts provide few economic benefits, especially for corporations already making handsome profits.
“They do nothing for struggling industries like forestry and manufacturing,” Clancy notes.
“After a decade of relentless corporate tax cuts, the biggest corporations in Canada are investing less in innovation – not more. Why give them even more when Canadian corporate tax rates will be the lowest in the G7 by 2012 – approximately 15% lower than the US rate?” he asks.
“The government’s approach is illogical. It is partisan ideology that is hurting ordinary Canadians from coast to coast to coast. The government should come to its senses and change direction now.”
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE