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Federal budget threatens Canada’s social and cultural fabric: CWA Canada

CWA Canada, the Guild’s parent union, is urging the Harper government to reconsider controversial measures in today’s federal budget, warning that they threaten to tear the country’s social and cultural fabric. The union, which represents nearly 7,000 media workers across the country, strongly opposes the government’s plan to delay old age pension benefits to age 67, cut CBC funding, and slash thousands of public-sector jobs.

“We know the government has to trim the deficit, but they don’t need to do it on the backs of seniors and Canadian culture,” said CWA Canada Director Martin O’Hanlon. “It’s hard to understand how the Conservatives can justify delaying pensions for seniors as they pour tens of billions of dollars into questionable fighter jets, a fleet of navy ships, and unnecessary prison expansion.”

“Imagine working your whole life counting on getting your old age pension at 65 and then finding out you have to work another two years to make ends meet. It’s sad and it’s wrong.”

Even Parliament’s own independent budget officer has refuted Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s claim that the Old Age Security program is unsustainable in its current form.

The decision to cut CBC funding is deeply troubling. Love it or hate it, the CBC plays a vital role in protecting Canadian culture.

The CBC was created in the 1930s to guard against a wave of American programming. That wave has now become a flood in the 1,000-channel universe, making it more important than ever to invest in Canadian content. If we don’t, we face the very real risk of becoming the 51st state in all but name.

It’s also clear that cutting quality public-sector jobs will hurt the economy, which has already been staggered by a huge loss of quality private-sector jobs, especially in the manufacturing sector.

“The government should be focusing on protecting and creating decent-paying jobs, not chopping them or sitting idly by as greedy companies like Caterpillar move work abroad,” O’Hanlon said.

CWA Canada is the country’s only media-specific union, with members at companies such as the CBC, The Canadian Press, Reuters, Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette and Victoria Times Colonist.

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