PORT ELGIN, Ont.—In a wide-ranging opening address to the union’s parliamentary body, Canadian Auto Workers president Ken Lewenza emphatically took governments to task for failed austerity schemes.
“Austerity doesn’t work,” Lewenza told the over 600 elected workplace representatives attending the CAW Council held at the union’s Family Education Centre in Port Elgin, Ont., April 5.
Lewenza pointed to the ongoing severe impact that government spending and program cuts are having on workers and, by extension, economies in Canada and around the world.
“Economies can’t find their footing when unemployment rates remain stubbornly high,” Lewenza said, highlighting specifically the Harper government’s recent stay-put budget and the need for ongoing direct investment to put two million Canadians back to work.
Lewenza’s comments came following the release of Statistics Canada’s job market numbers for March, which showed the economy shed 55,000 jobs for the month, completely erasing the unexpected across-the-board job gains in February.
“We won’t solve our fundamental economic problems without first answering the jobs question,” Lewenza said. “Communities across the country continue to struggle with chronically high unemployment and, worse, a decline in those actually seeking jobs.
“By focusing on austerity rather than job-creation, our governments are making the problem worse—not better. It’s time we invest in good jobs, quality services and much-needed infrastructure.”
The CAW Council runs April 5 to 7.