Federal budget leaves unemployed in the cold

    OTTAWA, Jan. 27 /CNW/ - Today's federal budget leaves hundreds of
thousands of vulnerable Canadians hanging on a very short rope and won't
provide the immediate stimulus our economy needs, says the Canadian Centre for
Policy Alternatives (CCPA).
    The budget fails to expand Employment Insurance (EI) to ensure laid-off
Canadians are eligible for benefits and its infrastructure promises require
the provinces and municipalities to match funding - a condition that will
stall many projects.
    "This budget is not equal to the challenges facing the country, nor does
it live up to the rhetoric of the Throne Speech delivered only 26 hours before
which claimed to protect the vulnerable," says CCPA Senior Economist Marc Lee.
    The omission of major EI reforms in the face of massive unemployment
stands as its biggest weakness, says CCPA Senior Economist Armine Yalnizyan.
    "Canada is facing a potentially massive wave of economic dislocation as
out of work Canadians turn to an EI system that is not recession ready,"
Yalnizyan says. "Six out of 10 Canadians don't get EI and everyone agrees
that's a problem, but this government inexplicably decided to ignore the
problem - and that will lead to disaster for many."
    Broad-based tax cuts are also a problem, says CCPA Analyst David
    "Only 5% of today's budget is actually devoted to tax measures to help
vulnerable low income Canadians," Macdonald says. "In the coming recession,
the government will help you adjust the colour palette of your kitchen, but if
you're poor you'll be on your own."
    The average Canadian will only get a $300 tax break with low-income
Canadians receiving a maximum of only $33, Macdonald says.
    Finally, the budget injects much needed infrastructure dollars that could
be the engine of job creation. But for every dollar spent in federal
infrastructure stimulus, provinces and municipalities must pony up 73 cents
for the money to flow - delaying critical job-creating projects that should be
stimulating Canada's economy this year, not next.

For further information:

For further information: Kerri-Anne Finn, CCPA Senior Communications
Officer, at (613) 563-1341 x306 or (613) 266-9491

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Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

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