POLITICS

Conservatives' budget pushes billions in federal spending down the line

04/22/2015 04:39 EDT | Updated 07/17/2015 02:59 EDT
OTTAWA - As the document that will underpin the 2015 Conservative election platform, the federal budget released Tuesday has a lot in common with the last Tory campaign: it pushes a lot of promises down the road.

In 2011, the Conservatives committed to allowing eligible families to split their income for tax purposes, and also offered a suite of tax breaks for families if elected — but not until the budget was balanced.

It worked — they won.

Fast forward to 2015, another election year, and the newly balanced budget lands chock-full of measures that are, not surprisingly, contingent on the Conservatives being re-elected.

On Wednesday during question period, the Conservatives answered nearly every question they received on the budget by attacking the opposition for saying they'll repeal many of the tax-based commitments.

Those are a guarantee for this year either way. Many of the other marquee promises made Tuesday don't kick in until next year, or even the year after that — after the fall election, in other words.

Here's a look at some of them:

Defence and Security

— $2.5 million to support procurement efforts doesn't kick in until 2016.

— $11.8 billion over 10 years to increase the overall budget of the Canadian Armed Forces doesn't start to flow until 2017.

— $3 million over two years to create a broadband network dedicated to emergency management beginning in 2016.

Public Transit

—$750 million over two years, starting in 2017, for major public transit upgrades. Funding increases to $1 billion a year on an ongoing basis in 2019.

Research and Innovation

— $1.33 billion for six years, beginning in 2017, to the Canada Foundation for Innovation to support advanced research infrastructure at universities, colleges and research hospitals.

— $30 million over four years, starting in 2016, to support development in satellite communications.

— $56.4 million over four years, starting in 2016-17, to allow for the creation of more industrial research and development internships.

Social and Environmental Policy

— Grand Challenges Canada, which works on global health issues, gets $22.8 million starting next year.

— Co-operative and non-profit social housing providers get $150 million in 2016 to prepay their mortgages and ease financial pressures.

— A government plan that keeps track of the human and environmental impacts of chemicals gets renewed funding of $491.8 million over five years, starting in 2016.

— The program that helps clean up federal properties that are contaminated is also being renewed, with $99.6 million over four years, beginning in 2016.

Trade

— $12 million over two years, starting in 2016–17, to help promote trade opportunities for Canadian agriculture and a further $18 million starting that year to market the products themselves.

— $86 million over two years, starting in 2016–17, to help the forest industry expand its research programs and market its products.