CBC In Depth
CBC News Online | February 24, 2005

Ralph Goodale must be a first cousin to our prime minister, who was nicknamed "Mr. Dithers" by The Economist magazine recently.

The Liberals, in an apparent attempt to lower our tax burden, are raising the personal exemption by about $2,000 with a phase-in period from 2006 to 2009. Tax relief is welcome, but the phasing-in period is so long that the tax relief is essentially meaningless for the next few years.

The Liberals will get some press for lowering taxes but the phase-in period should earn Mr. Goodale his own nickname: "Mr. Dawdle."

P. Savage
North Vancouver

I am concerned that the government will quickly blow the $1 billion to combat climate change on useless studies and advertising campaigns.

If the government really wants to reduce greenhouse gases, they need to give real economic incentives for people to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas they produce.

They should give significant grants for people to upgrade their home heating furnaces to high efficiency furnaces. Most people are operating furnaces that are 45-65 per cent efficient. Likewise, people should be given grants on their purchase of fuel-efficient automobiles. Those who purchase the big fuel guzzlers without good reason should have to pay an additional seven per cent sin tax � just like the taxes on tobacco and alcohol. People resist changing their actions unless they can clearly and quickly see how change will benefit them.

John Gabor
Abbotsford, B.C.

It's nice to finally see some form of personal tax relief, but having said that, it would be even more meaningful if it were applied 100 per cent in 2006 rather than doling it out as it is presented.

The government still has to realize that it is not their money they are "giving," it is mine and yours, the taxpayers of this country.

Bill Boskwick

The personal tax reductions are a joke.

While having surpluses ranging from $6 billion to $10 billion, an increase in the basic exemption stretched out until 2009 doesn�t go very much to relieving Canadians' tax burden. As usual, the government underestimated the surplus and continues on its fixation of reducing the debt.

A budget worth bringing the government down, but the Conservatives do not have the spine to do it.

Andr� Landry

In giving a tax cut to corporations, one has to wonder who the real beneficiary is. Reducing income taxes effectively grows the bottom line of most companies and it is likely that the already-wealthy corporate executives will receive large bonuses because, after all, profits are up! It seems Mr. Goodale agrees with the southern mantra of trickle-down economics more than he is willing to admit.

A large part of his base - the young, middle-class Canadians earning between $35,000 and $60,000 a year - never seem to reap budget spoils. A little tax break for the hardworking middle-class people would be a great boost to the economy!

Unfortunately we don't have time to protest because we are too busy working to pay for our cars, credit cards, mortgages, electronic gadgets and fancy dinners we can't really afford.

Omer Ahmad

Excellent � what people seem to forget is that the Liberal government inherited a financial disaster from the Mulroney years and in a relatively short period of time they have returned this country to a state of fiscal strength. So now this budget appears to be restoring some of the funding that was cut during this process. So apparently the "long-term gain" actually can follow "short-term pain."

Living in Ontario we are now seeing first-hand the results of the fiscal abilities of another Conservative government. Mr. Harris and Mr. Eves made huge cuts to our social programs, education and health care in order to be "fiscally responsible." Their fiscal responsibility left us with our health, education and social institutions in complete disarray and a multibillion-dollar debt that nobody "knew about." Nothing like a little "short-term gain" for a good dose of "long term-pain."

I commend the prime minister and the finance minister and I hope they will actually follow through on their promises.

Janet Latremoulle

How is a corporate tax rate decrease of 4.5 percentage points in 2008-2009-2010 going to help my business now? We are being hammered as a U.S. exporter by the increased value of the loonie. Jobs are being lost now, not in 2008 � I just wish they lived in the real world like us.

Greg Kornek
B.K. Iron Works Inc.

Typical tax-and-spend Liberal budget designed to buy off the less-informed members of the electorate. Massive spending hikes far greater than inflation with little or no emphasis on tax cuts or debt reduction. And if you think the gun registry was expensive, wait till you see how much the Liberals will end up blowing on a national child-care program, likely with little or no positive result. Or how about buying hot air from Russia to meet our Kyoto commitments � this is a pathetic budget by a radically left-wing government.

John Hall

The Liberals continue to spend like drunken sailors. The size of government public service and other government spending has grown exponentially under the Liberal stewardship and this budget shows no sign of changing that.

It is clearly designed to buy votes in the next election that is likely not too far away. I hope voters will remember that it is our own money we are being bribed with.

Note that spending starts now and any tax deductions are deferred for a later date. If there was any meaningful debt reduction in this budget, I must have missed it.

Assisting with child care is a noble idea but the gun registry, sponsorship scandals and every single Auditor General's report should scare us enough to believe that the government should stay out of it and just put the money in the parents' hands to chose to do what is best for their own children.

Jeremy Bright

We are one of the highest taxed countries in the world and all the gov't wants to give is less than $100 per year in tax savings, I think this is appalling. With inflation increasing every year and the average Canadian still making almost the same after tax income each year as they did 15 years ago, this doesn't appease the average Canadian.

Kathy Poirier

Talk about greasing palms. The federal Liberals are very good at throwing money around but their record for fiscal responsibility is poor. The federal Government is riddled by bureaucracy and inefficiency. What about addressing such inefficiencies? What about establishing the requirement of fiscal disclosure on the part of the federal Government to ensure fiscal responsibility? Back to that $16 savings on my taxes. What difference does that $16 reduction really make? As they say, it�s the sum of the parts that counts. Chances are the Ontario Liberals will eat that $16 with a lame argument about the transfer payments not being what they expected, and the need to raise taxes. Chances are that my $16 will be eaten up by a vacuum created somewhere in the trickle-down funding process of government or just the general rise in the cost of living. I doubt I�ll see my bank account swell.

Paul Thorpe

I am not at all impressed with this budget. Once again there is no actual spending. Only a promise to spend over a period of time that exceeds the amount of time the Liberals may hold power.

My children were both pre-schoolers when I voted Liberal in the early 90s. They are now both teenagers. How about 10-year-old education promises?

I'm absolutely sure there will be no help from this government concerning education, so all of my money is geared to go into my children's education. There is nothing left for RRSP'S.

Rob Cayer

The 2005 Budget looks great if the year was 2010. Middle income taxpayers such as myself will not feel the full impact of this budget until I file my 2009 income tax return.

It also depends on the Liberal government's ability to win another election, which I think they can't.

Shawn Postma

Finally, a well-balanced budget! Regardless of all the criticism of a post budget announcement by the Minister, time to move on and deal with all pressing issues.

As a former Canadian Forces Senior Military Officer, I�m glad to see the injection of additional funding by the Government of the day. Our troops need and deserve the best possible equipment to fulfill the missions allocated to them.

All that is needed now is a proper Foreign and Defence Policy; yet with the introduction of such documents and visions of the future must come the appropriate funding and leadership.

Denis Lachaine
Retired Major
Gatineau, Quebec

In general terms, the budget contained good news in a number of areas. There were however, two areas that were sadly ignored. Those being an investment in education and any mention of agriculture and agri-business.

I am not sure when all levels of government will understand that spending more on education is an investment in our future. In the area of agriculture, I feel that we desperately need to develop an agri-business initiative in this country. Adding value to the products we produce and then marketing the new value added product is the only way agriculture will survive.

Dale Burnay
North Battleford, Saskatchewan

Given that climate change is a far greater threat to Canadians than anything else, why is it that this government has decided to spend more than two and a half times as much on the military than on the environment? Are we going to send troops to the poles and glaciers to threaten them if they don't stop melting? Shall we bomb the prairie droughts-to-come into submission? Or how about we drop an elite squad into the boreal forest to prevent massive forest fires caused by decreased rainfall?

Devin Kettle

Congratulations to the Liberal Party. This is one of the most innovative, potentially effective budget seen in a long time. One questionable point is perhaps the $1B going towards the 'challenge of climate change', especially when a majority of researchers within the earth sciences community still have serious doubts about the actual effect of greenhouse gas emissions on global climate.

There is a desperate feeling among the scientific community that politicians, fueled by special interest groups and the media, are funnelling a huge amount of tax dollars into something we may actually have no control [over], which is normal climate fluctuations.

David Corrigan
Aylmer, Quebec

After viewing and hearing the budget, I'm ashamed Ralph Goodale has ignored disabled persons for the most part.

I was very delighted to hear Ralph Goodale increased tax credits for parents looking after disabled adult children. However, I'm very ashamed to hear Ralph Goodale and the Liberal Government didn't announce any funding increases to agencies helping disabled persons get jobs, meaning we could be left out of the cold in trying to become independent and contributing members in our strong Canadian economy.

I hope Ralph Goodale and Paul Martin will not exclude the needs of Canada's disabled community in the next budget.

Jackie Barrett


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COLUMNS: Keith Boag: A budget for all reasons Christopher Waddell: The budget's political traps
How would you spend the federal surplus? (Flash)

RELATED: Federal Budget 2004 Federal Budget 2003

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