Harper's Austerity Budget Threatens Jobs

TORONTO, March 22, 2013 /CNW/ - The United Steelworkers union (USW) is concerned that, while yesterday's federal budget is entitled "Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity," its austerity measures threaten all of those things. 

"Statistics Canada reports that 1.3 million Canadians are unemployed and many more have given up looking for work," said Ken Neumann, USW National Director for Canada.

"We need investment in important public services and infrastructure to help create jobs," Neumann said. 

"The Conservatives' budget identifies infrastructure as an economic priority, but it actually reduces infrastructure funding by billions of dollars," he noted.

Adjusted for inflation, new infrastructure funding through the municipal GST rebate, Gas Tax Fund, P3 Canada Fund and Building Canada Fund will be $5 billion less over the next four years than these programs provided before.

Transfers to provincial governments and individuals will grow in line with the economy, but less than previously promised. Direct federal program spending will be held to the same dollar value over the next five years, meaning service cuts relative to inflation and population growth. 

"The budget aims to cut total federal expenditures to 12.5% of Gross Domestic Product, almost the lowest level since the Second World War," said USW economist Erin Weir.

"The budget includes some positive proposals to close tax loopholes and strengthen enforcement against tax evasion, but then cuts the Canada Revenue Agency," Weir said. 

The budget also purports to "connect Canadians with available jobs" by shifting training funds from provincial governments to businesses. However, Weir emphasized there are six unemployed Canadians for every available job. Unfortunately, the budget fails to improve employment prospects.

SOURCE: United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information:

Contacts:

Ken Neumann, USW National Director for Canada, 416-544-5951
Erin Weir USW economist, 416-544-6005
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca


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