Budget: -No vision and no hope for working families," Georgetti says

OTTAWA ... Working families have been let down by the first budget of federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, according to the Canadian Labour Congress. It shows no vision of the country and offers no sense of hope to working Canadians.

-After the repeated promises to govern in the interests of ordinary working families, we have a budget which fundamentally undercuts the ability of the federal government to make a positive difference in peoples lives over the long term," says Ken Georgetti, president of the Canadian Labour Congress.

-The arithmetic does not work for ordinary working Canadians."

-The government squanders huge surpluses while workers cant find child care for their kids, cant get training to do their jobs better, cant protect their pensions when companies go bankrupt or cant get the money promised for pay equity. When will we have a government that addresses the real circumstances of working families in a changing society and a changing economy?" asks Georgetti.

The budget goes well beyond the governments five stated priorities. Instead, it marks a significant retreat from the active leadership needed to create a more equal and caring Canada.

Georgetti explains that he was particularly frustrated that the government ignored the diverse voices calling for continuation of the long-term investments to develop a national child care and early childhood education system.

-Children of working parents lose the most from this decision to scrap these investments. The new child benefit will help few parents without creating or sustaining the kind of child care spaces that give the best start in life to thousands of children."

The federal government surplus is so huge that the Minister of Finance and his government colleagues could have chosen not only to invest in child care, but also in education and training, and in the environment and community infrastructure.

-We are concerned that the federal government intends to download too much to the provinces. This will widen regional disparities and weaken opportunities for working people. In the area of training, for example, Ottawa must invest in apprenticeship, literacy and immigrant settlement programs which meet national skill needs and also create opportunities for workers to move to good jobs."

-A proposed new partnership with the provinces should not become Ottawas abdication of responsibility to act in the interest of Canadians in areas such as health, training and environmental infrastructure."

Georgetti concludes that -Canadian labour will actively monitor this governments actions and respond to its announced spending review and federal-provincial reforms. When government makes speeches about the interests of ordinary working families we expect actions in the interests of ordinary working families."

The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada's national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 135 district labour councils.

Analysis: Download labour analysis of 2006 Federal Budget here