PSAC says Harper government should act in the public interest - Strong public services alleviate Canadians' economic burden

    OTTAWA, Oct. 30 /CNW Telbec/ - The Public Service Alliance of Canada
(PSAC) is encouraged to hear that Finance Minister Flaherty recognizes that it
would be "misguided" to avoid a deficit at any cost and encourages the federal
government to focus its energy on providing assistance to the people hit hard
by the current economic crisis.
    PSAC represents 160,000 workers across Canada, including more than
130,000 federal public sector workers. In uncertain economic times, Canadians
look to PSAC members, who are on the front lines, helping people access
Employment Insurance, making sure that seniors receive their pension cheques
and that laid off workers have access to retraining and adjustment assistance.
They answer phone calls from people every day, who are concerned about whether
their bank accounts and retirement income are secure and want to know what the
federal government will do to alleviate the crisis that started in the banking
and financial sector and quickly spread to the traditional economy.
    "Now is the time to invest in public services and public infrastructure,"
says John Gordon, PSAC National President. "Minister Flaherty's assertion
yesterday that the expenditure review process within government would be
expanded to include Crown corporations and public sector compensation is
alarming, especially at a time when the focus should be on how to help people
and companies who are suffering from the economic fallout."
    PSAC maintains that Flaherty's obsession with expenditure review will
take much-needed energy and resources away from helping Canadians and Canadian
companies survive the current economic crisis and downturn.
    "What is needed more than further expenditure review is re-regulation of
the financial services sector and effective enforcement to ensure that it
never imperils our economy again," says Gordon.
    According to PSAC, government departments, agencies and Crown
corporations should focus on ensuring that Canadian companies in the
traditional economy remain solvent and productive. The union also urges the
government to provide real, swift and tangible assistance to the manufacturing
sector and private pension plans that have been catastrophically affected by
the excesses of the financial sector. This coupled with an Employment
Insurance program accessible to the majority of unemployed Canadians, not the
fraction who are currently eligible to receive benefits, would go along way to
ensuring that working Canadians and their families survive a crisis not of
their making.
    "This crisis was caused by Wall Street and Bay Street. It shouldn't be
foisted onto Main Street. Public sector workers and ordinary Canadians
shouldn't bear the brunt of an economic crisis caused by an irresponsible
financial and investment sector," says Gordon. "Investing in quality public
services and public infrastructure would assist in rebuilding the economy, and
help ensure that poverty in Canada is reduced."

For further information:

For further information: Ariel Troster, PSAC Communications, (613)

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