OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 03/22/17 -- Budget 2017 was an opportunity for the federal government to make significant and immediate strides on Canadians' priorities like child care, health care, and pay equity. Instead, the Trudeau government has delivered a plan that's heavy on rhetoric, and light on action.
"If you're an infrastructure bankroller or a billionaire tax dodger, today is a good day. For working Canadians, not so much," said CUPE National President Mark Hancock. "Mr. Trudeau has talked a good game lately about things like inclusive growth, pay equity, a living wage, and addressing inequality. But unfortunately, for Canadians, Budget 2017 proves it's just more talk. That's not how you create jobs and solve rising inequality in a precarious economy."
The government's infrastructure privatization bank, included in today's budget, could double the cost of building new infrastructure in Canada. Even worse, privatization of new infrastructure like public transit and water facilities will force Canadians to shell out user fees on infrastructure they already overpaid for.
Meanwhile, the federal government continues to insist that the cupboard is bare, while giving international tax evaders an easy ride, and refusing to close tax loopholes on stock options and capital gains. These loopholes overwhelmingly benefit the wealthiest 1% and cost the treasury billions of dollars every year.
"The Liberal Party ran on an ambitious, progressive platform," said CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer Charles Fleury. "Canadians wanted a government with the ambition to make landmark investments in child care and health care, and the courage to close tax loopholes. Unfortunately, they continue to be disappointed by this government's lack of both."
CUPE is encouraged by the government's proposed investment in affordable housing, modest investment in child care, and the inclusion of a gender-based analysis in its fiscal plan. But, the fact remains that Budget 2017 does far too little to address the immediate challenges of Canadians, who are faced with skyrocketing costs of living, and an increasingly precarious labour market.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) is Canada's largest labour union, representing 643,000 public sector workers across the country.