By KATHRYN MAY, The Ottawa Citizen February 28, 2012 5:05 PM
OTTAWA — The union representing economists working in the federal government is predicting the loss of 61,000 jobs in the private sector if the Conservative government reduces federal spending up to $8 billion.
The Canadian Association of the Professional Employees (CAPE) said the ripple effect of the Conservatives spending cuts, which will wipe out 55,000 jobs in the public service, will be a “drag on the economy” that will be felt across the country.
All told, the union estimates the results of the Conservatives’ spending and operating review that will be announced in the upcoming budget could wipe out 116,000 jobs across the country. About 61,000 of those lost jobs will be in the private sector and another 55,000 in the public sector.
The union said the biggest bite would in Ontario, where 50,000 jobs would disappear, followed by another 25,000 in Quebec, 15,000 in Western Canada, including 8,000 in Alberta. More than 9,000 workers in Canada’s service sector could lose their jobs, as well as 4,400 in the food service industry, 3,000 in the wholesale sector and 2,500 in construction.
CAPE President Claude Poirier said the government is planning major cuts to programs and services without considering the impact on the economy. The union earlier released an analysis that $8 billion spending cuts could reduce Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP) by $10 billion and tip the country into recession.
“The government is announcing major budget cuts as though the federal public sector and the Canadian economy were not part of the same universe,” said Poirier. “Any reduction in government expenditures will necessarily have a negative effect on the economy as a whole.”
The government has come under fire for its lack of transparency around the pending reductions. It has offered little information on possible cuts, making it difficult to get a handle on its impact.
The union represents 14,000 federal economists, social scientists, translators and researchers at the Library of Parliament.
The union undertook its analysis several months ago using accepted economic models and data.
Poirier said the union’s analysis used a Statistics Canada economic model that has been used by federal departments, provincial governments and private businesses, and it “indicates all sectors of the economy will be affected by these cuts.”
© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen