Public Values

Federal budget favours Conservative pet projects over Canadians' priorities

Sends message that public services are Canadians' problem, not government's.

Macdonald: Government has not yet revealed all its deep spending cuts to services Canadians need.OTTAWA, ON, March 22, 2011: Today's federal budget looks more like an attempt to stay in power than a fiscal remedy for the real problems facing Canadians, says the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), an independent think tank.

The CCPA's leading economists find this year's federal budget obscures the true cost of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's plan to balance the books while favouring Harper's pet projects over Canadians' priorities.

"For every dollar the Harper budget allocates to Canadians' priorities — such as helping seniors and cleaning up the environment — it devotes $7.50 for Conservative priorities such as jails and corporate tax cuts," says CCPA Alternative Federal Budget Coordinator David Macdonald.

"The needs of most Canadians are neglected due to reckless spending on Conservative pet projects," Macdonald says. "Canadians should be warned: deep spending cuts that will affect the services they need are on the horizon. The government isn't revealing where the pain is going to come."

"This budget wastes our time and our money," says CCPA Senior Economist Armine Yalnizyan. "The Harper government has yet again tabled a fiscal plan that doesn't deal with the tough issues of the day. How will we deal with aging infrastructure and high youth unemployment, a shrinking workforce and uncertain pensions? The government's response seems to be that these are our problems, not theirs."

"The ultimate test of a government budget is that it should make life better for Canadian citizens — on that measure, this budget represents a failed state," Yalnizyan says.

"Mr. Harper needs to step out of the boutique tax cut store and start rubbing elbows with the Tim Hortons crowd," says Macdonald. "The fact is, an extra $50 dollars for arts classes doesn't get you affordable childcare, it doesn't lower university tuition, and it doesn't move the line any faster at the emergency room. The federal government can and should be tackling these big problems."

The CCPA calls on the opposition parties to review its Alternative Federal Budget, which proposes solutions that connect with what matters to Canadians: post-recession job and household debt worries, pension concerns, income inequality, and climate change.

Links and sources
  Harper Budget Priorities: Bread. Canadians' Priorities: Crumbs.

Posted: March 24, 2011

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