A 13-country poll conducted by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) shows that Canadians want their government to put an emphasis on job creation rather than on reducing debt. The poll’s results were released in Brussels on June 12 by ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow on the eve of the G20 summit in Mexico starting June 18.
Ken Georgetti, President of the Canadian Labour Congress, says, “This poll shows that people feel a deep uncertainty and fear about the international economic situation. The message for G20 leaders is that people want their governments to invest in job creation rather than pushing austerity programs that cut back on government spending and destroy jobs.”
Among Canadians polled, 52 per cent said the government should make job creation a priority, while only 11 per cent say that government should immediately pay off its debt. The poll surveyed 1000 Canadians between April 10 and May 6, 2012. It can be accessed .
Although Canadians were more optimistic about the economy than those surveyed in some other countries, 59 per cent of Canadian respondents say their family income has fallen behind the cost of living, while 33 per cent say their income has stayed even with costs. Fifty-six per cent of Canadians surveyed said they are not able to save any money.
“The income of middle class Canadians has barely risen in the past three decades and families are struggling to make ends meet,” says Georgetti. “It’s getting more and more difficult for them to send their kids to college or university and people can’t afford to save. These have to become priorities for government.”
Of those Canadians polled, an alarming 77 per cent say future generations are ‘worse off than my own generation.’ Just 23 per cent of the respondents believe future generations will be better off.
The poll also found strong support for labour rights among Canadians. 86 per cent of those polled said they support laws that give workers the right to collectively bargain, so workers can join together to get fairer wages and labour conditions. Georgetti says that should send a message to the federal government, which has intervened in several labour disputes within the past year in favour of companies and against workers.
A recent ITUC report on trade union rights accused the Canadian government of leading an attack on worker rights and criticized the government’s disregard for the freedom of association, despite Supreme Court rulings that make it a cornerstones of industrial relations in the country.