Canadian Workers Abandoned by Harper Government, CAW says

January 8, 2010, 10:46 AM EST

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Hundreds of thousands of Canadian workers continue to suffer the lasting effects of a deep and damaging economic recession, yet they have been abandoned by the federal government, said CAW President Ken Lewenza responding to the latest dismal jobs report released earlier today by Statistics Canada. 

"It's outrageous that with an 8.5 per cent unemployment rate and more than 300,000 Canadians out of work in just 12 months, the Harper government decides to take a prolonged holiday," Lewenza said. "For the hundreds of thousands of unemployed Canadians, the next three months until Parliament resumes will be no holiday - this is a travesty to workers in Canada and an embarrassment to our nation's democracy."

The Labour Force Survey reports that Canada dumped another 17,000 jobs in the month of December (partially offset by a jump in workers joining the more self-employed ranks, with 2,600 net jobs lost), bringing the running total of job losses since the start of the economic crisis to 323,000.

Not surprisingly, the manufacturing sector took the biggest hit among the major industrial sectors shedding nearly 10,000 jobs. Since November 2002, the Canadian manufacturing sector has lost 570,000 jobs.

"Communities across the country are being destroyed because our government's lack of any vision for the future of our economy," Lewenza said. "These workers and their families are looking to Ottawa for leadership and it's clear that this government simply doesn't care. Instead, the government is distracted by petty political choices." 

The lion's share of net job loss in December was seen in the public administration sector (21,600 job losses), an area targeted for further cuts by the Harper government in the coming months, including the threat of privatizing key crown corporations like VIA Rail.

"If the Harper government tries to hack and slash its way out of deficit by attacking public services, they are going to make a very bad economic situation even worse for Canadians," Lewenza said. "Cutting our way out of a deficit won't create jobs, it will destroy them."


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