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Canadian organizations react to budget

Globe and Mail Update

Canadian Chamber of Commerce:

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce today welcomed Ottawa's plan to respond to the global recession.

"Since the meltdown in global financial markets last fall, we have called for a comprehensive strategy to limit the impact of the recession on Canada and to speed recovery. While there are elements that we would have designed differently, the government has consulted extensively and has answered our request to show how it thinks we can get our economy moving again. In the interests of all Canadians, the plan should be given a chance to work," said Chamber President and CEO Perrin Beatty.

Read the full release from the CCoC

Canadian Labour Congress:

Ken Georgetti, President of the Canadian Labour Congress, says that the federal budget doesn't go far enough to stimulate the economy or to put money into the pockets of Canadians who are innocent victims of the economic recession.

"We have called repeatedly on the government to fix the Employment Insurance program so that laid-off workers have adequate benefits to support themselves and their families while they search for new jobs," Georgetti said following the release of the budget on January 27. "Sixty percent of the unemployed weren't getting benefits prior to this budget, and they won't get benefits now."

Read the full release from the CLC

Canadian Auto Workers:

The federal government's refusal to address the shortfalls of Employment Insurance in the January 27 budget is a slap in the face to hundreds of thousands of unemployed workers, said CAW President Ken Lewenza. "Temporarily extending the benefit period by a mere five weeks is not enough to fix the crisis faced by unemployed workers."

"The bigger problem is that most unemployed workers can't qualify for benefits and this budget does nothing to change that."

Read the full release from the CAW

Canadian Urban Transit Association:

The Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) is pleased that today's Budget identifies public transit as part of new investments in infrastructure.

"This budget commits new support for Canada's infrastructure," says CUTA President and CEO, Michael Roschlau, "but the lack of investments dedicated to public transit will make it a challenge for transit to meet the growing needs of Canadian communities."

Read the Canadian Urban Transit Association full release here.

Federation of Canadian Municipalities:

Statement by Jean Perrault, President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and Mayor of Sherbrooke, on the Federal Budget:

"Today the federal government took concrete action to create new jobs, fight the recession and invest in a safer, greener, more competitive Canada.

FCM strongly supports the federal government´s commitment to invest significant new dollars in infrastructure projects that will put Canadians to work in 2009 and 2010.

Read the full release from the FCM

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives:

Today's federal budget leaves hundreds of thousands of vulnerable Canadians hanging on a very short rope and won't provide the immediate stimulus our economy needs, says the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

The budget fails to expand Employment Insurance (EI) to ensure laid-off Canadians are eligible for benefits and its infrastructure promises require the provinces and municipalities to match funding -- a condition that will stall many projects.

"This budget is not equal to the challenges facing the country, nor does it live up to the rhetoric of the Throne Speech delivered only 26 hours before which claimed to protect the vulnerable," says CCPA Senior Economist Marc Lee.

Read the full release from the CCPA

Canadian Association of University Teachers:

The group representing university and college educators in Canada says today's federal budget is filled with half-hearted measures that will not adequately stimulate the Canadian economy, will do little for the most vulnerable, and will fail to meet the needs of Canada's vital post-secondary education sector.

"Investment in post-secondary education and research is one of the best ways to stimulate the economy both in the short term and over the long run," says Penni Stewart, president of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT). "The Harper Government missed an important opportunity in its limited initiatives for our universities and colleges."

Read the full release from the CAUT

Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses:

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) believes that this budget will provide a certain stimulus to the economy but remains very concerned with the large deficits, and questions whether this level of spending is really necessary in the current economic context.

"The number one priority for small business in this budget was to see signs of stability that would build confidence," said CFIB president Catherine Swift. "There are measures that will benefit Canada's small business owners but we remain very concerned with giant deficits."

Read the full release from the CFIB

United Steel Workers:

Despite being pushed by the opposition-led coalition to do something to stimulate the economy in recession, the Conservative Government's budget is too small a step, says United Steelworkers' (USW) National Director for Canada, Ken Neumann.

"This budget should be defeated," said Neumann. "It is too little too late to address the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. "It provides insufficient economic stimulus, inadequate improvements to Employment Insurance, no meaningful safeguards for private pensions and no improvements to public pensions."

Read the full release from the USW

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