Budget Cuts Won't Deliver Economic Progress for Canadians, CAW says

March 29, 2012, 5:20 PM EST

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The Harper government's retirement reforms will cause needless hardship for poor seniors and worsen the growing concern over youth unemployment in Canada, said CAW President Ken Lewenza, following the release of the 2012 federal budget.

The budget called for an extension of Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement age requirements to 67, a move Lewenza said is reckless.

"We have a problem in Canada where seniors can't afford to retire and young people can't find adequate jobs," Lewenza said. "So, instead of fixing that problem, our government announced a plan to make retirement less affordable and to keep young workers unemployed."

Lewenza urged the government to reconsider its OAS/GIS reform proposals and to expand the Canada Pension Plan as a means of solving Canada's pension funding crisis.

In the budget, the Harper government announced major departmental budget cuts that are expected to eliminate 35,000 public sector jobs, which marks a major setback on Canada's job creation efforts. These cuts offset six months worth of modest job gains in Canada.

Lewenza said this austerity budget comes at a time when economists continue to warn that wrong-headed spending cuts could actually do more harm than good to struggling economies.

"Canadians were looking for a jobs budget and a growth budget," Lewenza said. "Instead, Mr. Harper and Mr. Flaherty have saddled us with job cuts, pension reductions and delayed retirement."

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