Conservative budget doesn't make country fairer, safer or better



    OTTAWA, March 19 /CNW Telbec/ - In spite of its claims, the latest
Conservative budget is not going to make Canada better or safer, nor will it
make it fairer, according to the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC).
    "The federal budget proposes to establish a $25-million office to foster
public-private partnerships (P3s), when what Canadians need and deserve are
quality public services that are publicly funded and delivered," says PSAC
National President John Gordon.
    The budget calls for $1.26 billion over 7 years in a national fund for
unspecified public-private partnerships, as well as $2.1 billion for gateways
and border crossings, including the new Windsor-Detroit access which is
already earmarked as a P3 initiative.
    "Despite the Conservative budget's praise for P3s in other countries,
experience actually shows that public-private partnerships are less
accountable and produce higher long-term costs," says Gordon. "If our tax
dollars are paying for this country's infrastructure, then we should own it.
P3s are simply a way to guarantee corporate profits at taxpayers' expense."
    The Conservative budget also sets the stage to put the health and safety
of Canadians in jeopardy through deregulation. Government regulations set the
terms and the extent to which the safety of the public is protected, whether
it is food and drug safety, the environment, transportation or public health.
    "Canadians expect a government that supports strong regulations and
effective enforcement," says Gordon. "The Conservative budget sends the
opposite message. Public safety now takes a back seat to economic
competitiveness."
    The Conservative budget also fails to address Canada's social
infrastructure. The budget provides a mere $250 million to the provinces for
the creation of child care spaces, instead of the $1.2 billion that was part
of the signed agreements negotiated by the Liberals and repudiated by the
Conservatives.
    "Not only is this an immense reduction, there is no obligation on the
provinces to actually use these funds for child care or early learning," says
Gordon. "In addition, the government is continuing to pursue its misguided
notion that a tax credit for businesses will create child care spaces. Tax
credits haven't created any child care facilities up to now and the proposed
25% investment tax credit won't create any in the future."
    And, while the Conservatives are prepared to spend lavishly in some
areas, there is nothing in the budget to reverse their decisions last fall to
cut the operating budget and close most of the regional Status of Women
offices, to eliminate funding for women's groups to conduct research that will
produce solutions for systemic change, and to eliminate the Court Challenges
Program.




For further information:

For further information: Denis Boivin, PSAC Communications, (613)
222-4617 (cell)


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