Economy in Peril: A mere dinner won't do

    OTTAWA, Jan. 10 /CNW Telbec/ - "As the prime minister prepares for his
economic chat over dinner with the premiers, the crisis in the manufacturing
sector worsens, energy costs continue to soar, the loonie is overvalued and
risks of a recession in the U.S. are on the rise. The economic forecast merits
more than dinner - Harper must call a national conference on the economy,"
said Paul Moist, national president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees
    That conference should prepare a hearty menu to relieve hard-hit
communities and eliminate the threats to our national economy. Federal
surpluses squandered in inefficient, massive tax cuts must be redirected to
the real issues:

    - Stemming the tide of massive job loss in manufacturing, forestry and
      other hard-hit sectors with concerted actions;
    - Addressing the $100 billion-plus infrastructure deficit that cripples
      our municipalities - infrastructure investment without the trap of P3s
      is a powerhouse that keeps the economy growing;
    - Increasing economic security for Canadians, including improved
      employment insurance benefits, better public pensions and a
      strengthened regulation of financial markets;
    - Anti-poverty measures including a higher minimum wage and programs to
      eliminate child poverty;
    - Solving the shortage in skilled labour with more skills training and
      literacy programs, along with a long-overdue national child care
    - A real and substantial climate change program that would upgrade the
      Canadian economy and reduce its addiction to carbon - the longer we
      wait to act on climate change the more economic damage we will suffer.

    "Prime Minister Harper can smell an election in the air. Is Friday night's
dinner all about photo ops? Or is there a sincere desire to tackle the
pressing economic issues? Witness what is transpiring south of the border.
Massive tax cuts have not improved the U.S. economy - let's not repeat their
dismal mistake," concluded Moist.

For further information:

For further information: Paul Moist, CUPE national president, (613)
558-2873 (cell); Sébastien Goulet, CUPE communications, (613) 808-0675 (cell);
Toby Sanger, CUPE chief economist, (613) 720-6955 (cell)

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