Union says putting deficit reduction at top of priorities "a serious mistake"
TORONTO—As Jim Flaherty gets set to deliver Canada’s federal budget, the Canadian Auto Workers union is calling on the finance minister to focus on job creation, not spending cuts.
Outspoken CAW president Ken Lewenza says focusing on eliminating Canada’s relatively small public debt could throw the strong-yet-delicate national economy into turmoil.
“Committing to wipe out the deficit by 2015, above any other economic or social priorities, is a serious mistake that will undermine our already-fragile economic recovery,” Lewenza said in a statement.
“Minister Flaherty should put pragmatism ahead of ideology, and recognize that Canada’s economy needs more support from its federal government, not less.”
Lewenza even went as far as to say it is “untrue” that Canada is staring down the barrell of financial crisis, and said paring down government spending could make “matters worse.”
On the doorstep of the budget, Lewenza is calling on Flaherty to reverse planned spending cuts, and make targeted new investments in key areas, including support for public infrastructure, job-creation measures in manufacturing and other key sectors, and repairing the employment insurance system.
Lewenza and his union are also urging Flaherty to make continuing investments in Canada’s manufacturing sector, which the minister promised on the eve of the budget.
“Despite the growth of energy exports, manufacturing is still far and away Canada’s most important export industry, and the sector is poised for a rebound,” Lewenza noted.
The federal budget is set to be delivered the afternoon of March 21.