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(Toronto) January 5, 2006 - This country cannot afford U.S. style tax cuts when there are so many needs left unmet. 
That's the message coming from a new national coalition of citizens groups that includes the major churches, unions, student and anti-poverty groups.
The Vote for a Change campaign and their Call to Action was launched at a press conference in Toronto this week.
The Call to Action has prominent Canadians, including Maude Barlow, Ed Broadbent, June Callwood, Avi Lewis, Naomi Klein and Linda McQuaig, calling for voters to Invest in the Canada We Want!  They believe the federal government is failing to meet its national responsibilities. According to their statement, "It is not doing enough to provide affordable housing, health care, education, and protection for children and seniors. And it is failing to keep its promises to the world on issues like climate change and international aid."
The campaign is calling on Canada's next government to:
      Improve public health care for everyone not just those who can afford it.
      Keep Canada's promise to the world on climate change, instead of just talking about it.
      Meet our obligations to the U.N. on aid and making poverty history.
      Remove barriers to new Canadians in our communities and workplaces.
      Keep post-secondary education accessible to lower and middle income students.
"We want Canadians to vote for candidates and parties that reflect these priorities," said David Langille, Director of the Centre for Social Justice. "They can help set the agenda for the new government in Ottawa. We'll make sure that every candidate gets the message - that we're voting for social justice, not tax cuts."
Marvyn Novick, a professor of social policy at Ryerson University agreed, stating that "we are losing the will to invest in our common future. We are witnessing a wholesale auction of the public treasury, as political parties compete to deplete the 'so called' fiscal surplus through their own brand of tax cuts."
Cathy Crowe
, Street Nurse and representative of the National Housing and Homelessness Network, drew attention to the fact that Canada is the only G8 country to not have a national housing program. "Faced with the choice of how to spend our money, we know that taxes are a good investment. That's how we pay for quality health care, better schools and affordable housing."
Shamini Selvaratnam, from the Canadian Federation of Students, stated that previous tax cuts only resulted in increased tuition rates - creating a two-tier education system. "We need to ensure that education is accessible to all Canadians."
Mary Corkery, Executive Director of Kairos: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiative, spoke passionately about the need to re-frame the current political debate. "We need a government that respects our values.  Canada is a caring and compassionate country, not one that celebrates individual gain at the expense of the community. We are upset when we hear politicians trying to buy our votes with our own money."
Other spokespersons included Tam Goossen, Community Social Planning Council, Maylanne Maybee, Anglican Church of Canada, John Argue, Ontario Coalition for Social Justice, Micky Fraterman, Canadian Association of Food Banks, and Liyu Guo, Campaign 2000.  They agreed:
"We want our taxes back: back into our hospitals, back into our schools, back into our communities."
Vote for a Change campaign partners include: Anglican Church of Canada, Campaign 2000, Campaign Against Child Poverty, Canadian AIDS Society, Canadian Association of Food Banks, Canadian Auto Workers, Canadian Child Care Advocacy Association, Canadian Federation of Students, Canadian Housing and Renewal Association, Canadian Labour Congress, Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Canadian Union of Public Employees, Centre for Social Justice, Communications Energy and Paperworker's Union, Community Social Planning Council of Toronto, Council of Canadians, Disabled Women's Network Ontario, Kairos, National Anti-Poverty Organization, National Association of Women and the Law, Ontario Coalition for Social Justice, Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care, Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants, Public Service Alliance of Canada, Toronto and York Region Labour Council, Toronto Coalition for Better Child Care, Toronto Disaster Relief Committee, United Church of Canada, Urban Alliance on Race Relations
For further information please contact:
 David Langille, Director,
416-927-0777, 416-605-9534 cell
Romana King, Media Relations,
416-895-5407 cell