Why federal budgets don't matter anymore in Canada

At 4 p.m. today, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will unveil the Federal Budget. The government chose to release the budget during the Winter Olympics and some say that is a way to hide a "do-nothing" budget. (CP/Nathan Denette)


This is budget day in Ottawa. The Opposition leader questions the timing of a new federal budget but others question the importance. Have the Harper government's Omnibus Bills made budgets obsolete? We're asking.

"It's a pretty cynical move on the part of the Conservatives, the budget right in the middle of the Olympics. It'll allow them to mask the fact they're not announcing any plans or programs whatsoever".

Tom Mulclair, leader of the official Opposition

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty steps up with his Federal Budget this afternoon -- right about the time fans of The Winter Olympics tune in for the Women's Luge.

Some critics question both the timing of the budget and the document itself. They say the budget ritual has lost value as the Conservatives introduce thin budgets in favour of massive omnibus bills.

So does the budget still matter?

  • Scott Clark was deputy finance minister from 1997 to 2000 under then Liberal Finance Minister Paul Martin. Today he is a public policy blogger with co-writer Peter DeVries at 3DPolicy and iPolitics.

  • Tim Powers is a Conservative strategist and Vice-Chair of Summa Strategies.

What do you think? What value do you place on the federal budget today?

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This segment was produced by The Current's Shannon Higgins, Idella Sturino and Alexa Huffman.

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