Provincial government delivers Harper style budget

Posted April 19, 2012

The Union of Public Sector Employees is calling yesterday’s provincial budget the worst budget to emerge since the Callbeck years. “It is a budget that appeases the private sector and corporations at the expense of front line public service employees and the vital services they provide to Islanders’” says President Shelley Ward. “This is an austerity budget that has eliminated over three hundred public service employees from their jobs and it will have an adverse effect on the economy. Several hundred more positions will also be cut over the next three years along with a host of important programs and services that Islanders depend on.”

“For instance, the Family Ties program is an important program that offers in-house counseling to adolescents and their families. Cuts affecting this program will lead to an increase in youth crime,addiction,and child family violence issues,” says President Ward. “There are many at-risk youth wrestling with alcohol and drug abuse, problems in school, and conflict in the home. The government’s cuts will allow many of these families and individuals to fall through the cracks. Instead of receiving the help they need, many will find themselves entering the correctional system.”

“The government's announcement to privatize liquor store outlets should also be a cause of concern for the public. Research has shown that privatizing liquor sales creates negative health and social outcomes. Private outlets are motivated purely by profit and are more aggressive and less socially responsible in their approach to selling alcohol. If we look at Alberta,they have the highest alcohol consumption rate in Canada and one of the highest alcohol related crime rates. This is not the direction we want to head in.It certainly contradicts the provinces recent emphasis on wellness,” says Ward.

The President of the PEI Union of Public Sector Employees says “the Liberal government essentially caved to pressure from the federal government to ‘get its house in order’ by implementing austerity measures and the Harmonized Sales Tax. The HST will effectively shift more of the tax burden from corporations to the lower and middle classes. Islanders will now be taxed on a much broader range of goods and services. The government may end up collecting more revenue at the end of the day by implementing the HST but this method of revenue collection will further increase income inequality in Prince Edward Island.”

Please contact Mark Barrett at 892-5335 (or toll-free at 1-800- 897-8773) to arrange an interview.