The Canadian Union of Public Employees brought more than 300 union members to Fredericton on Friday to a news conference that called on the provincial government not to cut public services. (CBC)
The Canadian Union of Public Employees is beginning its fight against potential public service cuts in the upcoming provincial budget.
The Progressive Conservative government has been warning New Brunswickers that there will be cuts in its March 27 budget.
Premier David Alward and Finance Minister Blaine Higgs have said they intend to wrestle down the province’s deficit, which is projected to be $471 million this year.
Daniel Légère, the president of CUPE New Brunswick, said public services are important to citizens. The union brought together union members for a Friday morning press conference to underscore the importance of the work done by public sector workers.
“New Brunswickers know the difference that public services make to their lives,” Légère said in a statement.
“Cabinet ministers are telling New Brunswick to expect less and to want less from their government.”
Légère said the provincial government has to stop “corporate giveaways.” The union leader also said citizens do not “accept tax cuts for the rich that result in program cuts for the rest of us.”
“They should put their own house in order. If the government wants to cut spending they should begin with corporate welfare. In New Brunswick the most successful companies are the ones that receive the most money from the government,” he said.
Paul Moist, the national president of CUPE, was also at the Fredericton event. An economic downtime is not when governments should be cutting services, Moist said.
“In a recession, or a sluggish economy, such as exists in New Brunswick, citizens actually use more public services,” Moist said.