On Cross Country Checkup: the federal budget
You'd have to go back to Paul Martin's 1995 'come-hell-or-high-water' budget to find another one so anticipated. Expectations of a deep cutting austerity budget were everywhere. But when it was finally revealed, many wondered why all the concern.
What are your thoughts on the federal budget?
With host Rex Murphy.
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Live Chat - Budget special
Thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts in this online conversation.
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The Conservatives brought down their first majority-government federal budget last Thursday. Most budgets are preceded by much speculation and anticipation because they are usually the most significant annual political statement issued by any government. More so than a speech from the throne, a budget not only sets out a course for government action and a direction for concern, it also provides specific details about how the government will get there ...how it will pay for it ...and how it fits into all the other fiscal needs of the nation.
This budget was more anticipated than most. The lead-up recalled Paul Martin's famous 'come-hell-or-high-water' budget of 1995. Why? Well with nations around the world awash in debt and their governments dishing up austerity budgets, many thought the same was in-store for Canadians.
But in the context of a slow recovery from a worldwide recession ....with economic uncertainty still plaguing Europe ....our largest trading partner the US only just beginning to show signs of life ...and Canada's manufacturing industries still stuck in neutral ...things did not exactly look buoyant ...and to clamp down further might be risky.
So, the budget was unveiled with limited austerity ...$5-billion dollars in cuts ...and even a bit of new spending on aboriginal education and innovation to spur job creation. Twenty thousand government worker jobs are to be cut over 3 years ...a far cry from the 45-thousand that Paul Martin cut in 1995. More controversial perhaps, but expected, was the increase in the age of eligibility for recipients of Old Age Security from 65 to 67 ...though that doesn't happen until 2023. Two other measures that generated concern were the streamlining of rules for giving environmental approval to large projects ...and the tightening of rules on charities who engage in politics.
It was a large budget expected to make a big splash ...but it landed rather softly. Some are saying that once some of the details and consequences are discovered, they will generate more heat.
We want to hear from you.
What do you think of the budget? How will it affect you? Are there details that you celebrate ....is there anything you do not like? Was it the right budget for the times ...or did it miss the mark?
Our question today: "What's your reaction to the federal budget?"
I'm Rex Murphy ...on CBC Radio One ...and on Sirius satellite radio channel 159 ...this is Cross Country Checkup.
- Joe Oliver
Canada's Minister of Natural Resources.
- Keith Ambachtsheer
Adjunct Professor of Finance and Director of the Rotman International Centre for Pension Management at the University of Toronto.
- Paul Moist
National President, Canadian Union of Public Employees(CUPE).
- Anne Golden
President and CEO of the Conference Board of Canada.
Globe and Mail
Halifax Chronicle Herald
Winnipeg Free Press