When a government underspends to the extent we are seeing with the Harper government, the estimates become unreliable. Parliamentarians aren't able to find out how much the government is actually spending until months after the end of the fiscal year. As a result, they can't inform the public about what programs and services have been diminished in time to make a difference. The way the underspending scheme stifles debate reminds me of the Harper government's omnibus legislation, except it's even worse.
The federal government now appears once again poised to balance its budget after several years of deficit spending. A step backwards in the direction of borrowing and spending more would be a huge loss with little economic reward.
Since their overall objective should be to find ways to deliver better services more efficiently to Canadians, and given their remarkable record of success, shouldn't Canada forge ahead with a stronger agenda for more Private-Public Partnerships?
Restoring the corporate tax rate would be a good start. When Ontario began cutting that rate in 2010 it was based on an idea that companies would use the savings for job creation and to develop new markets and products. That has not panned out. Instead Canadian corporations are sitting on $600 billion of hoarded cash that benefits very few.
While the Conservatives like to talk a big game, Canada's SMEs have received very little attention from the Harper government. Instead, when it comes to making policy, the Conservatives have made their priorities clear: they're on the side of Bay Street -- not Main Street.
Let me be clear: It is our duty to provide services to veterans in need from the time they begin their transition to civilian life until they pass away. And of course this is not just about veterans, but their families. That includes ensuring access to a dignified funeral and burial.
This budget certainly does a lot of things. It ignores struggling families desperately in need of daycare options. In 2006, the Conservatives cancelled the Liberal National Daycare Program, opting instead for a $100/month subsidy. Canadian families know how to stretch a buck, but $100 does not stretch very far.
I'm writing you in hopes that you can step in and stop these three from causing further harm. Is there a group or organization or caucus, say, that you could refer this matter to and come up with a mechanism for stopping these bullies? I'd really appreciate any help you could provide as I'm now even scared to go to my mailbox for fear of what the next letter from the government might bring. Some of my fellow victims are afraid these bullies are going to get meaner and meaner and de-index our pensions or even cut them back. Some are even saying they're going to take away our mailboxes but I can't believe they'd be that cruel.
There is a stark contrast between what Veterans want and need, and what the Harper Government is presenting. Veterans need benefits, pensions, enough money to live on, and assistance accessing programs. Veterans are in crisis across Canada -- mental health crisis, financial crisis, family crisis resulting from both -- and deserve help. Decorated Veterans are suing Canada for not providing for them; a shameful situation which decent people would settle quickly. What has Harper offered? No jobs, more expensive health plans, more emphasis on the depersonalized VAC web service.
This is precisely what happened in Canada in the early 1990s. Indeed, following a steep increase in duties and taxes applicable to tobacco products by the federal government and the provinces, a vast illegal trade in cigarettes sprang up. Contraband's share in the Canadian tobacco market jumped from 1 per cent in 1987 to approximately 31 per cent by the end of 1993.
The 2014 Federal Budget made important investments in Canada's infrastructure, something for which the Harper Government deserves great praise. However, the Government could get a lot more bang for its infrastructure buck if it required open tendering for all projects using federal money.
After running six consecutive deficits totaling $156.5 billion, Flaherty has been clear that balancing the budget in 2015-16 is his top priority. Budget 2014 reaffirms that commitment. Despite risks in Flaherty's plan, his budget signals that a return to surplus may soon be upon us. The next step for the federal government is to enact an ambitious personal tax reform plan.
This year's federal budget was par for the course (read: not very interesting). But of course we have a lot of columnists in this country who need to eat, so the slightly more curious need not fear -- the nation's papers are positively brimming with in-depth insights on precisely how much of a non-event this non-event is.
A few small tax perks were closed this budget time around. But the revenue resulting from tweaking non-resident trusts and a handful of other insider loopholes are estimated at only $50 to $80 million in 2015-16. It makes one wonder if Jim Flaherty is committed to the business of fair taxation.
The conservative approach to seniors over the past few budgets has focused on tax breaks that only the wealthy can afford and raising the age of eligibility for OAS and GIS to 67. Canadian seniors deserve better.
Economic Action Plan 2014 is what Canada needs. It continues to support jobs and growth; supports families and communities; and highlights the road to a balanced budget in 2015 without cutting transfers to individuals or the provinces.