Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has told Canadians: "Free your pennies from their prisons at home and donate them to charity." However, he does not want you to liberate American pennies from the prisons in your home by donating them to charity.
In this budget, we're seeing steep cuts to precisely those areas where the greatest opportunities for growth and evolution reside -- regional services, engaging documentary production, in-depth reporting, and comprehensive news gathering. At Reimagine CBC, we're using this moment as an opportunity for creative intervention.
Whether it's marginalizing low-income seniors by increasing the qualifying age for OAS, or cutting funds to regional development programs that create jobs, or not announcing any new funding for affordable housing -- when the existing program funds are set to expire soon -- this budget is simply wrongheaded, misguided, prejudicial, and disconnected from the needs of Canadians.
David Frum recently published his analysis of the federal budget, and asked whether or not it definitively proves that Canada is the "best-governed country in the advanced democratic world." On a purely economic basis this budget is prudent in many ways. But as a policy document, it is a dismal failure that continues this government's disregard for the health of our democracy.
Just as the Federal Budget spends $8 million to increase the burdens on charities to prove they are staying away from political activities, the oil industry is trying to get Environmental Defence's charitable registration revoked. If the CBC is muzzled by budget cuts, and charities are muzzled or frightened into silence, who will speak up for the environment?
Cutting programs that help the poor may be politically expedient, but it is not morally right, and fiscally can have disastrous consequences. The commitment of poverty reduction is not seen from the current Alward government.
The most serious threat to our future is the climate crisis. A responsible government would be working to reduce fossil fuel dependence and maximize jobs in energy efficiency retrofits, conservation, and investments in renewable energy. This budget does not even mention climate change.
The word "innovation" appears 122 times in the federal government's 2012-2013 budget. The government is clearly frustrated by the limited success of its programs to spur innovation in Canadian businesses. Is innovation is really an issue that large-scale government programs can solve?
I was thinking of my grandfather on March 29 when the Conservative government announced in the budget that it will raise the Old Age Security (OAS) benefits from age 65 to 67. We do have a looming pension crisis in Canada, not because people are retiring too early, but because their combined pension and investment income will still see them retiring into poverty.
It's done! The budget is a vigorous economic action plan for Canada. Most important, it is a long-term vision. Many measures have been adopted to ensure that government policies encourage the creation of wealth and private-sector jobs. What are the changes?
Everyone knows that there are always winners and losers come federal budget time. Thursday's budget, however,was built on the emerging dynamic in federal politics where Big Oil wins big time at the expense of all Canadians -- our health, our right to open and democratic debate, and our pocketbooks.
From the perspective of the three westernmost provinces, there were some promising measures in the latest budget: Outside pressure from over-zealous environmentalists and the current regulatory framework threaten to undermine productivity in the resource sector. The budget attempts to streamline the process. It also attempts to help with Western labor shortage through immigration reform.
To coincide with budget day in Canada yesterday CBC's "The Current" featured a segment on something called participatory budgeting, which engages local citizens and communities in allocating funds to projects and priorities. Average citizens are no less equipped to make these tough decisions than average politicians.
The 2012 federal budget was the last silky adornment to be peeled off in Stephen Harper's long dance of seven veils with Canadian Conservatives. Turns out there's not much underneath.
An important long run element in today's budget is the change in "retirement age" -- actually a change in the age of eligibility for Old Age Security (OAS). Nowadays, age 65 is more like late middle age than old age and people who reach that age can look forward, on average, to a couple of decades of an enjoyable life.
Budget news came down the Parliamentary stairway with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Stephen Harper sharing in a laugh while reporters furiously thumbed their blackberries, shoved mics in politcians' faces, or yelled, "Tweet that!" in newsrooms (as we did at HuffPostCanada). Feeling a little bombarded with info? We thought you might be.