POLITICS
03/29/2012 04:06 EDT | Updated 05/29/2012 05:12 EDT

Some of what was said Thursday about the 2012 federal budget

OTTAWA - Quotes on Thursday's federal budget:

"We are a moderate, pragmatic government that responds to the facts as they are and not as we might wish them to be." — Finance Minister Jim Flaherty at his Thursday news conference.

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"We are fiscal conservatives, we are a majority now, the economy is growing — albeit modestly. ... We're looking to the future." — Flaherty at his news conference.

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"They're not good managers. They are not going to go at this with a scalpel, they'll always go at it with a rusty machete. It's a clear-cut." — NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair, dismissing the budget as a selection of wrong choices.

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"Stephen Harper promised jobs and growth, but delivered reckless cuts. There's nothing on jobs, nothing on inequality and nothing to strengthen our front-line health services." — Mulcair.

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"I don't see a message here about jobs and growth." — Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae.

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"What the budget is doing is handing off the baton from government to the private sector to carry economic growth." — Craig Alexander, chief economist at TD Bank.

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"We've been led to believe that this government is capable of providing leadership and making tough decisions but, if it is, there's no proof of that in this budget at all." — Gregory Thomas, federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers' Federation, complaining that the gold-plated pension plan for MPs was untouched in the budget.

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"The government could have used this budget to help struggling middle class and working Canadians, but it chose to not to do so." — Ken Georgetti, president of the Canadian Labour Congress.

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"They're saying 'let's do it for the children.' But it's the children who get hurt." — Susan Eng, vice-president, advocacy, CARP.

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"We were disappointed in the baby steps taken by the federal government to restrain its spending. While there has been a lot of talk about the amount of spending reductions in this budget, overall program spending continues to rise." — Catherine Swift of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

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"A new fiscal relationship is not what this budget represents — we as First Nations needed substantive commitments not substandard contributions to known solutions." — Isadore Day, chief of Serpent River First Nation.

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"Given its declining purchasing value, some Canadians consider the penny more of a nuisance than a useful coin." — Budget document explains the demise of the one-cent coin.

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"Of the 30 billion pennies, I think half of them are under my bed in a big jar." — New Democrat MP Pat Martin, who has tried to kill the penny with private member's bills.

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"We won't have these, well, quite frankly ridiculous, situations where we have assessments going on for years over projects, that are sometimes abandoned because the process itself takes so long and at such great expense." — Flaherty, explaining why he wants to streamline the environmental assessment process.

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"The question is the integrity of the process. What's happened to this government is they've attacked the integrity of the process, they are attacking the integrity of the people who are opposing projects, they're attacking the integrity of people who are appearing." — Rae on the changes to environmental reviews.

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"I always knew Jim was a penny-pincher." — Ontario's finance minister, Dwight Duncan.

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"I was expecting that the cuts could be more draconian than they were." — Newfoundland and Labrador's finance minister, Tom Marshall.

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"I'm quite encouraged by the initiatives that seem to be coming forward in the economy and training and employment." — Saskatchewan Finance Minister Ken Krawetz.

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