Harper budget may prevent an election, but doesn't do the job for working Canadians

    TORONTO, March 19 /CNW/ - "The Stephen Harper budget appears to be a
budget structured to avoid an election," said CAW president Buzz Hargrove.
"The budget recognizes problems but fails to address them. There is a nod here
and a wink there, but no real solutions."
    For instance, the government applies a bandaid to the hemorrhaging
manufacturing sector. There is tax support for manufacturing investment, but
only for the next 18 months. It does nothing to stem the loss of manufacturing
jobs - some 200,000 manufacturing jobs have disappeared in Canada over the
last two years. It does nothing to address our growing trade deficit in
manufactured goods.
    In a similar vein, the government acknowledges poverty, but does very
little to help Canadians escape the poverty trap. It provides a $500 tax
credit to single individuals, but only if their net income is below $12,883 -
single parents, might get up to $1,000.
    "A tax initiative combined with introducing a $10.00 minimum wage would
have not only acknowledged poverty, but would have done something about it,'
said Hargrove.
    "The budget admits that what the Harper government has done with the
child care issue has been inadequate. This time they tried to fix the problem
with a tax credit of a few hundred dollars for children under 18. What working
families really need is the national child care program the Harper government
scrapped when they came to power."
    Where the government has been forced to respond is in the area of fiscal
transfers to the provinces and the environment.
    In terms of the environment, there is some good rhetoric, but too many of
the programs are either inadequate or wrongheaded. For instance, the
government has announced a program to get older vehicles off the road, but
with a financial commitment of only $30 million over two years, it won't
retire many vehicles. Instead of providing an incentive to made-in-Canada
green automotive products that would strengthen our most important industry,
the Vehicle Efficiency Incentives will instead opened the door even wider to
imports from countries which limit access to their markets.
    "Any positive news in the budget is offset by the government's commitment
to advance P-3 deals, its determination to reduce corporate taxes even further
and its aggressive pursuit of bilateral trade deals," added Hargrove. "The
budget may do enough to prevent an election, but it doesn't do the job for
working Canadians and their communities."

For further information:

For further information: Jim Paré, CAW Communications, (416) 723-2224

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Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW)

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