Canada has abruptly switched sides in one of the perennial political and economic battles over how to restart a sagging economy.
This debate is by no means solely a Canadian argument. Countries from China and Japan, to Greece and Ireland have taken different views on the subject.
Do you think spending or austerity is the best way to economic prosperity? Here's how the conversation went:
(Please note that usernames are not necessarily the names of commenters. Some comments have been altered to correct spelling and to conform to CBC style. Click on the username to see the complete comment in the blog format.)
"The fact is infrastructure across the country is badly in need of repair and expansion. No matter what you may think of the PM or the budget, these investments have been ignored for far too long and need to be made. It is money that needs to be spent and will be well spent." — Alex Zander
"Spending will lead to prosperity, but only if done correctly and extremely intelligently. Throwing money at construction companies to re-pave roads does nothing but fatten that company's bottom line. Let's not forget that spending now necessitates austerity later. This money doesn't come out of nowhere, we're borrowing it against our grandchildren's future incomes." — Gavin Park
"I think both can be, depending on where the costs or savings is coming from. I think good investments in infrastructure (roads to the Ring of Fire to open it to development, subway and rail to reduce traffic and commute times), education (secondary and retraining), and R&D can bring more and better jobs. Likewise, saving money by cutting expenses that don't give incentives to hire people and invest in businesses can generate GDP by reducing the tax load we must bear." — Mike Sherrard
"The best way to prosperity is to allow major infrastructure projects go ahead. We have several pipelines and LNG plants that are getting more and more bogged down in provincial bickering and "climate change reviews." Even projects that get approved by the process are then arbitrarily blocked, like Northern Gateway. Get these things moving! No more delays." — MY MILKSHAKE
"I think both approaches are useful depending on the economic situation at the time. Currently, interest rates are near zero so it would be prudent to invest in infrastructure to create jobs. When interest rates are high there is a disincentive to borrow for investments. Also, I don't believe that budgets should be balanced on the backs of the poor." — Chris Lopes
"We tried it the other way for 10 years and it didn't gain any traction. I'd think even the most ardent of Harper/Conservative supporters would have to agree it's time to get something new. I like the idea being floated of really going after the biggest tax cheats, or companies that evade tax by going off-shore. It's pretty low-hanging fruit because all Canadians are frustrated by those that don't pay their fair share." — Cestdommage
"I think that spending on whatever each municipality or city or town needs is the way to go to stimulate the economy. It will make jobs that will employ people who are now not working but are desperate for a job. With money they will spend and this will help the economy. We need jobs and there are roads, bridges and water systems that badly need to be upgraded before they fall down and kill somebody." — Colleen Lucas
"The government is going to run a 29.4 billion deficit, out of which about 18 billion is an operating benefit and 10 billion is supposed to be a stimulative benefit. Maybe we should look a little more at that operating deficit." — Ralph Ponzo
"There is no future in debt. With debt, you are spending money that you don't have, counting on future tax payers to pay for today's extravagance. Not fair. Each generation should pay its way. With debt, you are placing the extra cost of interest on top of your expenditures." — vernon Finch
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