Federal budget delivers lower than low expectations

    OTTAWA, Feb. 26 /CNW Telbec/ - "The Federal government set expectations
low going into the budget, and they delivered lower than low expectations,
said Paul Moist, national president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.
    Minister Flaherty did not address health care, child care, poverty or
homelessness, and there are no long-term solutions for the municipal
infrastructure deficit.
    "The budget allocated only $500 million in new money for public transit.
However Flaherty has abandoned government public responsibility in favour of
private sector profits through P3s. The federal government is moving forward
with its privatization agenda by establishing the PPP Canada Inc. office and
selling off more public assets. CUPE will oppose public private partnerships
in communities across Canada," Moist said.
    The budget introduced a new tax shelter in the form of a tax-free savings
account. "What good is a tax-free savings account if you have no prospect of
having savings? Few Canadians are even able to contribute to RRSPs let alone
have any other savings. Essentially the Harper government maintains that wages
must be taxed - but investment income is tax-free," said Moist.
    There was no increase in the working income tax benefit - which would be
a genuine incentive that could have been used to address the needs and
vulnerabilities of the working poor. The government chose not to make the tax
system more progressive and weakened public services, which are widely
recognized as universal poverty busters.
    "Canadians want increased funding for public services: including health
care, child care, a robust infrastructure fund that is not tied to
privatization efforts, and a real commitment to tackle the pressing problems
of climate change.
    Stephen Harper's minority government promised responsible leadership - in
contrast he has consistently abandoned a strong leadership role and federal
responsibility to improve the quality of life for working Canadians,"
concluded Moist.

For further information:

For further information: Paul Moist, CUPE National President, (613)
558-2873 (cell); Claude Généreux, CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer
(porte-parole francophone), (514) 884-5074 (cell); Toby Sanger, CUPE Chief
Economist, (613) 720-6955 (cell); Catherine Louli, CUPE Communications, (613)
851-0547 (cell)

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