|May 10, 2006
Harper Budget guts key programs
|The Conservative federal government brought down its first budget on May 2nd. It featured more than $20 billion in tax cuts over two
years, and confirmed that the Harper government will eliminate three key progressive programs which were negotiated under the
former Liberal minority government: the national child care program, the 5-year aboriginal agreement, and the implementation fund
for the Kyoto protocol.
The budget is a highly political document, clearly aimed at helping Mr. Harper win a majority in the next election - which will likely
occur within a year. The downside of the tax cuts - and corresponding cutbacks in federal program spending - has been delayed for a
year pending a vague "expenditure review" process.
"Ultimately, we will lose a dollar in public programs, for every dollar in tax cuts," said CAW President Buzz Hargrove in response to the
budget. "Tax cuts are not free; in fact, they are incredibly expensive. The average worker won't see any noticeable difference in their
standard of living from tax cuts. But we will all feel the pain from eliminating child care and other public programs."
Hargrove called on the three opposition parties to take a strong, united stand against the budget's elimination of the child care
program, the aboriginal deal, and the Kyoto implementation fund. "If the 3 opposition parties jointly demand that these priorities be
respected, they clearly have the power to amend this budget, and rein in Harper before he gets a majority."
Alternative Federal Budget shows a Better Way
The 11th annual Alternative Federal Budget was released a few days before Finance Minister Jim Flaherty brought down his official
budget. The AFB, sponsored by a coalition of unions, social action groups and environmental organizations, describes the high
social cost of the government's tax cuts.
Instead of cutting taxes, the AFB proposes a significant range of investments in key public programs - including a national child care
program, pharmacare, environment and public housing. Spending on these goals could be increased by $15 billion per year - with no
tax increases, and a balanced budget.
The AFB also proposes closing expensive corporate tax loopholes -- including the "income trust" exemption, which currently costs
Ottawa close to $1 billion in lost revenues.
The CAW has been an active supporter of the AFB since its inception. Further details of the AFB, and the full budget, can be obtained
by clicking the link below (www.policyalternatives.ca), or by calling the CAW Research Department at 1-800-268-5763 (ext. 431).
Source: CAW NewsNow