budget cuts

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In the 1990s and early 2000s, Prime Minister Jean Chretien and Finance Minister Paul Martin cut federal government spending as a per cent of GDP and raised the employment insurance threshold to between 12 and 20 weeks.

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The unions must use a template every time a government announces that it will ax one public service and replace it with one that saves labour and money. We see this again with the debate in Vancouver about closing the Kitsilano Coast Guard station in favour of more modern rescue vessels based in another station nearby. The arguments used against the change are exactly the same heard in the 1980s when small fire-fighting ships were introduced to replace a large vessel and again when a driver-less railroad called Sky-train was to replace some public buses.