Budget should invest in people, not tax cuts: CUPE President

    OTTAWA, Jan. 22 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Union of Public Employees
(CUPE) wants the Harper government to choose a strong social safety net over
tax cuts in next week's federal budget.
    "The government must carefully consider how they will spend our public
revenues," said CUPE National President Paul Moist. "Tax cuts will cripple the
government's ability to provide the social services that struggling Canadians
so desperately need during a recession and beyond. Public services need to be
seen as a form of wealth that Canadians can invest in, both to care for people
long term, and to create new jobs to stimulate the economy."
    In addition to supporting a strong public sector, CUPE calls for a budget
that supports infrastructure, workers, relief for the vulnerable, and provides
better protection for pensions and investments.

    Encourage Infrastructure:

    Federal funding for municipal infrastructure should be doubled to $12
billion a year. Infrastructure funding should be limited to publicly-financed
and operated projects, with a strong focus on green infrastructure and tied to
made-in-Canada procurement measures.

    Support Workers:

    This budget should not make the same mistake as the ill-fated fiscal
update and attack workers. The government must work with labour, understanding
that our country's workers are the backbone of our economy.

    Provide Relief:

    Strengthen and improve employment insurance for the 60 per cent of
unemployed Canadians currently unable to receive EI benefits. The EI waiting
period should be eliminated and a uniform national entrance requirement of 360
hours must be adopted, with benefits based on 60 per cent of earnings. Protect
pensions with a guarantee fund, immediate increases to Old Age Security and
the Guaranteed Income Supplement, and phased-in increases to CPP/QPP.

    Invest in Our Future:

    Maintain public ownership of public assets and infrastructure. Resist any
further attempts at privatization, including risky, overpriced public private
partnerships. Improve governance of our financial institutions. Invest in
social infrastructure programs - especially early learning and child care,
home care, long-term care and for Aboriginal and First Nations communities.

For further information:

For further information: CUPE Media Relations: (613) 794-7867

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Canadian Union of Public Employees

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