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Federal job massacre looms

John Bell

January 23, 2012

A new report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives warns that planned cuts to the federal civil service could result in more than 60,000 lost jobs by the end of Stephen Harper’s first majority government.

The Harper government is already warning that the next budget, due in March, will include more severe cuts.

Analyzing already announced budget cuts and layoffs, CCPA author David Macdonald says we will see $7.82 billion chopped from public services by the end of next year. That will translate into 20 per cent staff cuts, or 225,000 lost jobs.

Those cuts were announced when the Harper government was patting itself on the back for presiding over a “strong and stable” economy. Since then, economic reality has sunk in: 19,000 Canadians lost their jobs in November alone. And economists and bankers fear that the housing bubble is overdue to burst.

Fear of a collapse in the over-priced housing market is forcing central bankers to keep interest rates at historic lows, leaving them unable to address rapidly rising inflation rates. A one-month drop in inflation in December reflects desperation in the retail sector rather than economic health. Even with that drop, food prices are climbing at an annual rate of almost five per cent.

Macdonald reminds us that federal cuts don’t just result in public service job losses. Many agencies providing support for seniors, the unemployed, immigrants and other vulnerable groups rely on federal funding.

The CCPA report says the federal cuts and layoffs will disproportionately hit the most vulnerable: “programs for Aboriginal on-reserve housing, training and primary health care; support for low-income families, seniors, and the unemployed; environmental programs; workplace and food safety inspectors; and Canada’s international profile.”

Not every area of federal funding will be cut. Look for increased spending for prisons, policing, spying and the military. And naturally, corporate tax cuts will remain untouched.

Read more of the CCPA report at:

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