Bruske: Federal budget shows that when parties work together, everyday people benefit
OTTAWA – Canada’s unions welcomed today’s investments in making life more affordable for workers and their families, including through action on dental care, affordable housing and fairer taxation.
But Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress said that progress is hard-fought and we must be ready for Conservatives and their corporate friends to try and derail these positive steps by declaring mission accomplished on the recovery.
“Some bankers and Bay St. CEOs want people to believe the economy is back to normal. But the reality is, the old normal meant banks raking in tens of billions in profits while hundreds of thousands of kids, seniors and families were living in poverty,” warned Bruske. “A surtax on banks and insurance companies – and investments in making housing more affordable while providing free dental care to low-income kids – are concrete actions towards building a new and better normal.”
Bruske noted that temporary investments from all levels of government over the past two years not only helped keep Canada out of an economic depression and helped families weather the pandemic, it also reduced poverty rates from over 10 percent in 2019 to 6.4 percent in 2020, while child poverty was cut in half.
“Two years of pandemic has left us with soaring inflation and stagnant wages. The recovery has been uneven. Cuts and austerity now would take our country in the wrong direction,” said Bruske. “Now is the time to aim higher, not settle for less.”
While today’s budget is a good start, Bruske said Canada’s unions will continue to press the government to work with the labour movement on critical things not in today’s budget, in particular a just transition for all workers and critical investments to make pharmacare a reality for the many families struggling to afford needed medicines.
“We can already see the positive result from Liberals and New Democrats collaborating but there’s a lot more work to do. In the weeks and months to come, Canada’s unions will continue to press the government on addressing the dire shortage of nurses and health workers, implementing pharmacare and expanding just transition,” concluded Bruske. “When parties work with us and put people before politics, that means workers can thrive, instead of just survive.”
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