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  • Harper Conservatives say they will not budge on the budget
    By: Cormac MacSweeney

    OTTAWA - The Conservatives say they are are not willing to budge on any measure in their budget.

    The fiscal plan, tabled Thursday, will slash more than $5-billion worth of spending, cut around 19,000 public sector jobs and increase the eligible age for old age security from 65 to 67 beginning in 2023.

    The opposition parties will get a chance to submit amendments on the budget, but Minister of State for Finance Ted Menzies told 680News they will not get passed.

    "No, we don't accept amendments on a budget. Budgets are confidence, they know full well that," he explained.

    Menzies says the budget is about creating a stable future for Canadians.

    "This is about making sure that we have a sustainable system for the long term for our children and grandchildren and we owe that to them," he said.

    The NDP is upset that the government is fully standing behind its plan. Critic Peter Julian told 680News this is a slap in the face to voters.

    "Conservative MPs were warned and now what we're seeing is a government saying well to heck with all Canadians, we're going to do whatever the hell we want," he said.

    From slashing services and jobs to altering OAS, the NDP says there's a lot that needs to change in this budget.

    "When you say we're going to force future seniors to work two more years, if they can, and if they can't they have to live in poverty. That is absolutely, I think, unacceptable to most Canadians," said Julian.

    Since the Harper Conservatives have a majority government there is no way the opposition parties can make any changes to the fiscal plan.
  • Library workers accept tentative deal
    By: 680News staff

    City of Toronto Public Library workers have voted overwhelmingly to accept the city's tentative agreement.

    Maureen O'Reilly, President of CUPE Local 4948 Toronto Public Library Workers Union, made the announcement shortly after 9 p.m., Thursday.

    "This signals clear approval of our commitment to defending quality jobs and services, even when with an assault on the people who work to keep our communities working," said O'Reilly. "I'm saddened that the library board chose to join this assault. But I'm proud of our members, our bargaining team, and the public for reminding them that Toronto loves its libraries - and that libraries work because we do."

    She added that no full-time positions will be converted to part-time and that a modest number of full-time positions will be created across the length of the agreement.

    Workers walked off the job on March 19.

    Library branches will reopen tomorrow at 10:30 a.m.

    Customers will not be charged late fees while the branches were closed and due dates will be extended two weeks.
  • Jim Balsillie resigns from RIM board
    By: 680News and The Canadian Press

    Research In Motion co-founder and former CEO Jim Balsillie has resigned.

    David Yach, CTO of Software and Jim Rowan, COO of Global Operations have also stepped down.

    The move happed after the Canadian tech giant announced the strategic review of its business.

    Thorsten Heins, who replaced Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis as chief executive in January, says RIM faces significant challenges.

    The company had a loss of US$125 million or 24 cents per share in the fourth quarter, as it took a $355-million writedown of intangible assets known as goodwill.

    The loss compared with a profit of $934 million or $1.78 per diluted share a year ago. Revenue fell to $4.2 billion, down from $5.6 billion.

    During the quarter, RIM shipped approximately 11.1 million BlackBerry smartphones and over 500,000 PlayBook tablets.
    by Christine Chubb edited by Diana Pereira (CityNews and... 3/29/2012 9:26:31 PM
  • Federal budget cuts 19,000 public sector jobs, kills the penny

    The federal 2012 budget cuts up to 19,000 public sector job cuts.
    It's also killing the penny and will raise old age security eligibility to 67.

    Highlights from the Conservative government's 2012 budget, released Thursday:

    • Production of the penny to cease this fall, saving an estimated $11 million a year.

    • Deficit projected to fall $8.5 billion, to $24.9 billion for 2011-12, to decline to $21.1 billion next year and to disappear by 2015.

    • More than $5 billion in cuts to annual federal spending by 2014-15.

    • Job cuts: 19,200 federal positions to be eliminated, or 4.8 per cent of the federal workforce.

    • Age of eligibility for old age security and the guaranteed income supplement to gradually move to 67 from 65, beginning in 2023.

    • $5.2 billion over 11 years to renew and refit the Canadian Coast Guard's fleet of vessels and helicopters.

    • Eligible Canadians to be allowed to defer old age security for a maximum of five years, beginning in 2013, in exchange for higher benefits.

    • $1.1 billion in research and development over five years, plus $500 million to encourage venture capital investment by the private sector.

    • First Nations reserves: $275 million over three years for schools and education, $330.8 million over two years to improve water systems and water quality.

    • CBC to lose 10 per cent of annual funding.

    • Return $130 million in fees to nearly 300,000 would-be Canadian immigrants to eliminate backlog in skilled-worker applications;

    • $482 million over two years to improve the effectiveness of the employment insurance system, including incentives for accepting work and ensuring benefit levels align with local labour market conditions.

    • Cap on annual increases to employment insurance premiums until operating budget is balanced.

    • $205 million for a one-year extension of a temporary hiring credit for small businesses.

    • $50 million over two years to provide job skills training for young people.
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