Stakeholder reaction to the 2010 budget

National Citizens Coalition

Instead of fixing the job crisis as it promised in yesterday’s Throne Speech, the Harper government appears to be coasting on last year’s stimulus budget, offering no meaningful new initiatives to get Canadians working again.

Today’s budget measures are a good step in the right direction, but more needs to be done to put Canada back on the road to sustainable economic growth.

Responding to today’s federal budget, National Citizens Coalition President Peter Coleman commended the Harper government for introducing measures that will limit the size of government, and address the bloated spending that has become pandemic in Canada. At the same time, the NCC criticizes the budget for not going far enough to secure the country’s financial future.

“This is a matter of fiscal leadership, and doing what is right for Canada,” added Coleman. “This government needs to go further in their efforts to reduce the size of the civil service, and more needs to be done to reduce spending.”

Fraser Institute

Fraser Institute senior economist Niels Veldhuis had harsh words for today’s federal budget, saying the $105 billion in budget deficits over the next five years will prevent the government from making improvements in competitiveness that would lead to a stronger economy.

“The 2010 federal budget does little to strengthen the Canadian economy. By putting off balancing the books for at least five years, the federal government is sacrificing Canadian competitiveness,” Veldhuis said.

“With revenues expected to rebound this coming year, the government could have balanced the budget within two years. Instead, Finance Minister Flaherty has chosen to keep the spending taps open and saddle Canadians with $104.6 billion in deficits over the next five years.”

Canadian Wind Energy Association

The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) today expressed its serious disappointment with the federal government’s failure to expand and extend its very successful ecoENERGY for Renewable Power Program in the 2010 federal budget. Despite its expressed desire to harmonize climate change and clean energy policies with the United States, the federal government is now clearly moving in the opposite direction with respect to efforts to attract wind energy investment and jobs.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) responded today to the 2010 Federal Budget expressing with great dismay that the Harper government continues to delay efforts to balance the federal budget.

CTF Federal Director, Kevin Gaudet, said “a plan to balance the budget should actually balance the budget and this doesn’t do that. Restraint delayed is restraint denied. Taxpayers have heard similar promises of restraint before. Canadians will believe it when they see it.”

Canadian Chamber of Commerce

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce today welcomed the federal government’s strategy to achieve its recovery plan, to return to balanced budgets and to promote a more innovative and competitive economy.

Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association

Hidden in today’s budget is the government’s plan to significantly raise employment insurance rates – which means employers will be paying a much higher price to create new jobs during the economic recovery.

Higher EI premiums will cost the restaurant and foodservice industry nearly $30 million a year starting in 2011.

In pre-budget consultations the 33,000-member Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA) opposed an increase in employment insurance premiums, calling it a tax on jobs. According to the federal budget, the EI premium rate for employers is rising by nine per cent in 2011 and will continue to increase through at least 2014.

Canadian Alliance of Student Associations

Budget 2010 is making intelligent investments to help students find their way into post-secondary education, and assisting new graduates in finding employment, but has announced little for existing students facing over $500 million in lost income, due to the recession last summer, and are having difficulty paying for college and university.

“Unfortunately the federal government did not recognize the needs of students that are currently facing a cash and credit crunch due to last year’s recession,” said Arati Sharma, National Director of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, “Students lost $500 million in income last year due to high unemployment but there were no new investments in the summer jobs program, no increases in the Canada Student Grants Program, and no changes to the student loan system so students can pay the bills they are facing today.”

Budget 2010 also included one-time funding of $30 million in wage support for Career Focus, a program to help businesses hire recent college and university graduates. It also announced up to 140 fellowships for recent graduates of doctoral programs of up to $70,000 per year for two years to do research in Canada.

Canadian Federation of Students

Today’s federal budget contains no measures to address record high tuition fees and the student debt crisis.

“Chronic underfunding of Canada’s post-secondary education system has resulted in skyrocketing tuition fees and record high levels of student debt,” said Katherine Giroux-Bougard, National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. “With a record number of Canadians enrolled in college or university, this budget does nothing to help students and their families afford an education.”

The Investment Industry Association of Canada

The federal budget, released today, charts a prudent course to support recovery of the Canadian economy and bring public finances back into balance. The government has set out a realistic plan to reduce the $54 billion deficit to near fiscal balance in five years. The Investment Industry Association of Canada (IIAC) supports the commitment to spending restraint to achieve fiscal objectives. The responsible fiscal actions taken in the past four years underlie the credibility in the fiscal projections.

“The measures in the Extraordinary Financing Framework previously introduced by government were timely and effective and have contributed significantly to improved credit and economic conditions,” said Ian Russell, President and CEO, IIAC.

Federation of Canadian Municipalities

FCM applauds the federal government for protecting core investments in cities and communities as it reduces the federal budget deficit. These investments will help local governments – and Canadian property tax payers – build the infrastructure that is the backbone of our economy and quality of life.

The government is standing by its promise to permanently invest $2 billion a year in gas tax revenues in safer roads and bridges, quality public transit, and clean drinking water. This commitment, along with funding for affordable housing and the GST Rebate for municipalities, is helping local governments build greener communities that can compete for new jobs, talent, and investment in the post-recession world.

The Canadian Urban Transit Association

The Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) is pleased that today’s Budget maintains existing investments that support public transit infrastructure.

“Transit investment stimulates the economy, and builds sustainable transportation choices for the future,” says CUTA President and CEO, Michael Roschlau. “Canada’s transit industry recognizes and supports the recent progress made by the Federal Government in addressing transit needs.”

While CUTA is thankful that the federal government will maintain existing commitments to the $4-billion Infrastructure Stimulus Fund, the $8.8 billion Building Canada Fund and the $2 billion per year Gas Tax Fund, the lack of investments dedicated to public transit will make it a challenge for transit to fully meet the growing needs of Canadian communities.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is pleased to see some measures to tackle the deficit and recognize the contribution of small business in growing the economy and creating jobs but more could have been done. “Building confidence among small business owners will do more to create jobs across Canada than any other measure,” said Catherine Swift, CFIB’s President and CEO.

Addressing paper burden and regulations has always been a top priority for CFIB members and the establishment of a Red Tape Commission is welcome news. “Providing clear leadership, committing to measuring and publicly reporting on the number of regulations, as well as putting some constraints on regulators will make this initiative a success,” said Swift. “CFIB is a strong supporter of moving this process forward as it really is a low cost way of making our economy more productive and efficient” added Swift.

CFIB was also pleased to see measures to curb government administration costs. “The federal budget deficit cannot be tackled unless the government gets a handle on reducing costs in the public sector,” said Swift. “Many in the private sector have had to make sacrifices during the past year and so must the public sector to help get Canada’s books back in order. This is just a start, however, and much more needs to be done on public/private sector salary and benefit inequities”.

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

The Harper government’s budget fails to measure up to its own job creation promises, says the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), a progressive think tank.

Cardus

Ray Pennings, Director of Research for Cardus, expressed concern that although today’s federal budget rightly focuses on returning the books from deficit to surplus, it pays too little attention to imminent deficits in elder care, charitable service and broad social architecture.

“It’s a good budget, but it’s not visionary,” said Pennings. “Canada will begin facing down critical problems in the coming decades that need bold fiscal leadership, and by that standard, today’s budget is focused too much on short-term physical stimulus, and not enough on helping institutions outside of government build capacity for providing critical services over the long term.”

Certified Management Accountants of Canada

Certified Management Accountants of Canada (CMA Canada) welcomes Budget 2010’s focus on making Canada more globally competitive and encouraging greater investment in Canada.

The budget contains specific measures that will help Canadian businesses increase their capacity to innovate and become more productive.

While CMA Canada welcomes the new investment in public sector R&D included in Budget 2010, the government must continue to encourage business-led R&D, which is a critical source of innovation. To this end, the government should consider CMA Canada’s pre-budget recommendation of enhancing the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax credit by enhancing the refundability provisions.

Canadian Auto Workers

“This budget does little to help Canadian workers secure their footing during a period of severe economic instability and is rooted in government-destroying, deeply ideological values,” CAW President Ken Lewenza said in response to Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s budget today.

The budget shifts the Conservative government policies further in favour of businesses and corporations, to the detriment of average Canadians. It outlines a series of plans to reduce the federal deficit through major spending cuts, including $6.8 billion from the public service budget. The budget also highlights the government’s intent to further reduce tariffs on manufacturing inputs, deregulation of the telecommunications and uranium mining sectors, an expansion of free trade, and boasts that Canada will have the lowest corporate tax rate in the G7 by 2012.

The Direct Sellers Association of Canada

The Direct Sellers Association of Canada applauded the federal government for the extension of the GST/HST collection mechanism currently used by thousands of small businesses across Canada and for continued measures to create jobs for Canadians.

“The amendments to the GST/HST collection rules for direct sellers announced in the federal budget confirm this government is committed to creating an environment where entrepreneurial activity can grow and jobs can be created,” said Ross Creber, President of the Direct Sellers Association of Canada (DSA). “The changes Minister Flaherty announced today will benefit thousands of independent sales contractors in the direct selling industry.”

United Steelworkers

“The federal budget provides no new support for green jobs or general investment in manufacturing,” said Ken Neumann, United Steelworkers’ (USW) National Director for Canada. “It projects a higher unemployment rate this year than last year, but proposes only token improvements to Employment Insurance (EI) benefits.

“The government should significantly enhance the accessibility, level and duration of regular EI benefits. It should stop deducting severance pay from EI benefits and shorten the two-week waiting period.

“While the budget continues previously announced stimulus spending, it provides almost no new money to create jobs or help unemployed workers,” says Neumann.

The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada welcomes the government’s strategic choice to invest in university research as announced today in Budget 2010.

“Given Canada’s fiscal outlook, we are pleased that the government is continuing to invest in university research and innovation to create jobs today and to build the economy of tomorrow,” says Michel Belley, chair of the AUCC Board of Directors and rector of the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi.

The $32 million annual investment in the three major granting councils will help universities to pursue the kinds of research that will drive innovation and produce the highly skilled workers that all sectors of the economy need. The budget also provided $8 million for the Indirect Costs Program.

Canadian Youth Business Foundation

In today’s federal budget, Prime Minister Stephen Harper strengthened the government’s partnership with the Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF) with the announcement of $10 million in funding. The funds will ensure that CYBF continues to help aspiring young entrepreneurs open businesses in communities across Canada, creating jobs while strengthening Canada’s economic recovery.

“At CYBF we know that youth entrepreneurship is fundamental to Canada’s economic recovery and long-term competitiveness,” explained Vivian Prokop, chief executive officer of CYBF. “The government’s continued investment in CYBF is recognition of our role as an important partner in job creation, economic development and building a culture of entrepreneurship in Canada. This federal funding, coupled with effective public and private partnerships, demonstrates an understanding that young entrepreneurs have great potential to generate ideas and drive innovation in Canada’s communities from coast to coast.”

Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union

“All political parties should vote to bring this government down now,” says Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union President Dave Coles in reaction to today’s budget.

“Yet another budget, filled with rhetoric and platitudes, that does nothing for workers, families and communities in hundreds of forest-dependent communities,” says the leader of Canada’s largest forestry union.

“We saw the same show in last year’s budget,” says Coles. “In fact, in the past year, the Conservatives made many announcements about aid to the forest sector, yet we saw a record number of bankruptcies.”

“Mr. Harper and Mr. Flaherty are simply continuing to milk the media for their own gain.

The Forest Products Association of Canada

The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) today welcomed the spending initiatives and direction announced in the Federal Budget saying it will strengthen the industry’s plans for renewal.

“From a forest industry perspective, the Government has its priorities right: investing in green jobs of tomorrow, stimulating the economy through clean energy technologies, and inviting investment by changing the Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance, will give Canada the edge it needs to move into the new bio-economy,” says Avrim Lazar, President and CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada.

“The Next Generation Renewable Power Initiative leverages the industry’s ability to make a significant contribution to Canada’s vision of becoming a clean energy superpower. This is a win for the environment, economy and the next generation work force.” says Lazar.

Canada’s Chartered Accountants

Canada’s Chartered Accountants (CAs) are cautiously optimistic about the federal budget giving it a B-plus rating.

“This is really a wait and see budget,” said Kevin Dancey, FCA, president and CEO, Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA). “We won’t know if this is a successful budget until the government demonstrates that it has the ability to rein in costs.”

It also is a transition budget as the government prepares to move away from its stimulus spending to restraint. The budget confirms $19-billion in new federal stimulus under the second year of the government’s Economic Action Plan. It also charts a course to return Canada to fiscal balance but only brings the deficit down to 1.8-billion by 2014-2015.

Certified General Accountants Association of Canada

Although it includes no major initiatives, the Finance Minister introduced a budget that lays the groundwork for economic recovery and emphasizes productivity and innovation, says the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada (CGA-Canada).

“The budget addresses the right priorities – continuing with necessary economic stimulus, focusing on innovation, and charting a course for a return to budget balance,” says Anthony Ariganello, CGA-Canada’s President and CEO. “The fact that there are no major new initiatives is not a surprise. Nonetheless, the budget contains a number of interesting smaller measures, especially those related to innovation.”

VANOC

The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) today commended the Government of Canada for committing an additional $17 million annually in funding in support of the Own the Podium program: $11 million for winter athletes and $6 million for summer athletes. The funding announcement came as part of the Government of Canada’s release of the federal budget.

“The Prime Minister and Government of Canada have today confirmed that sport counts in Canada – that sport is an important and vibrant part of the fabric of life in our country,” said John Furlong, VANOC’s Chief Executive Officer. “Canadian winter athletes, through their stellar performance at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and at the upcoming Paralympic Games, are making a significant impact on the country, inspiring national pride and a showing what can be done when confidence is raised to the highest level through strong support. Our summer athletes have tremendous potential as they prepare for the London 2012 Games,” he said.

Comments

comments

  • kenn2

    Most excellent round-up of commentary on the Budget, Mr Taylor. Thank-you.

    Me… I actually haven't yet found anything to hate about this budget. It seems to be conservative in a good way – with awareness of the need for reducing the deficit – yet it also considers the ongoing economic slump, and the need to invest (public and private) in preparing for the future, and it continues to support those goals.

    Your summary of opinions reassures me. Most of the sensible groups seem to support it. Government-haters like NCC and the Fraser Institute are criticising it, which is always a good sign in my books; likewise the unions are unhappy.

    I'm going to look at the fine print, but for the moment it seems like a sensible budget.

  • Big_Bad

    Here are some more who like what the budget did:

    • Canadian Chamber of Commerce: “Welcomed the federal government's strategy to achieve its recovery plan, to return to balanced budgets and to promote a more innovative and competitive economy.”

    • Canadian Construction Association: “The federal government has recognized the importance of infrastructure and maintained its investment in development and renewal. The much needed spending announced last year provided stimulus to the Canadian economy through investments in infrastructure, college infrastructure, green technology, as well as new incentives to help in retraining Canada’s unemployed.”

    • Conference Board of Canada: “(Budget 2010 was) very well crafted, and the deficit reduction target was a very credible plan.”

    • CD Howe Institute: “Eliminating all tariffs on inputs is an absolutely brilliant move. Tariffs are just plain dumb in imposing costs on businesses … it is a superb message … in terms of attracting investors but also in taking a leadership role in establishing an agenda aimed at trade liberalization and broad-based economic growth.”

    • Federation of Canadian Municipalities: “FCM applauds the federal government for protecting core investments in cities and communities as it reduces the federal budget deficit. These investments will help local governments – and Canadian property tax payers – build the infrastructure that is the backbone of our economy and quality of life.”

    • Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada: “We are pleased that the government is continuing to invest in university research and innovation to create jobs today and to build the economy of tomorrow. This budget sends an important signal. It shows that the government recognizes the vital role universities play in creating opportunities for Canadians in the new economy.”

    • Direct Sellers Association of Canada: “(Budget 2010) confirm(s) this government is committed to creating an environment where entrepreneurial activity can grow and jobs can be created.”

    • Forest Products Association of Canada: “From a forest industry perspective, the Government has its priorities right: investing in green jobs of tomorrow, stimulating the economy through clean energy technologies.”

    • Certified General Accountants Association of Canada: “The budget addresses the right priorities – continuing with necessary economic stimulus, focusing on innovation, and charting a course for a return to budget balance.”

    • Certified Management Accountants of Canada: “CMA Canada believes Budget 2010 makes Canadian businesses more globally competitive by eliminating barriers to investment in Canada and increasing their capacity to innovate. CMA Canada is encouraged that the government is focusing on innovation, such as developing a Digital Economy Strategy that will further prepare Canadian companies to meet the changing nature of global competition and ensure Canada's future economic prosperity.”

    • Canadian Federation of Independent Business was pleased with: “measures to tackle the deficit and recognize the contribution of small business in growing the economy and creating jobs.”

    • Canadian Council of Chief Executives: “2010 federal budget recognizes that economic recovery remains fragile and job creation tentative, but its commitment to fiscal discipline will ensure that Canada emerges from the current period of economic weakness in better shape than ever.”

    • Investment Industry Association of Canada: “The federal budget, released today, charts a prudent course to support recovery of the Canadian economy and bring public finances back into balance. The government has set out a realistic plan to reduce the $54 billion deficit to near fiscal balance in five years.”

    • Derek Holt, Scotia Capital economist: “I like this budget, quite frankly. I think it's the right budget for uncertain times.”

  • Big_Bad

    Here are some more who like what the budget did:

    • Canadian Chamber of Commerce: “Welcomed the federal government's strategy to achieve its recovery plan, to return to balanced budgets and to promote a more innovative and competitive economy.”

    • Canadian Construction Association: “The federal government has recognized the importance of infrastructure and maintained its investment in development and renewal. The much needed spending announced last year provided stimulus to the Canadian economy through investments in infrastructure, college infrastructure, green technology, as well as new incentives to help in retraining Canada’s unemployed.”

    • Conference Board of Canada: “(Budget 2010 was) very well crafted, and the deficit reduction target was a very credible plan.”

    • CD Howe Institute: “Eliminating all tariffs on inputs is an absolutely brilliant move. Tariffs are just plain dumb in imposing costs on businesses … it is a superb message … in terms of attracting investors but also in taking a leadership role in establishing an agenda aimed at trade liberalization and broad-based economic growth.”

    • Federation of Canadian Municipalities: “FCM applauds the federal government for protecting core investments in cities and communities as it reduces the federal budget deficit. These investments will help local governments – and Canadian property tax payers – build the infrastructure that is the backbone of our economy and quality of life.”

    • Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada: “We are pleased that the government is continuing to invest in university research and innovation to create jobs today and to build the economy of tomorrow. This budget sends an important signal. It shows that the government recognizes the vital role universities play in creating opportunities for Canadians in the new economy.”

    • Direct Sellers Association of Canada: “(Budget 2010) confirm(s) this government is committed to creating an environment where entrepreneurial activity can grow and jobs can be created.”

    • Forest Products Association of Canada: “From a forest industry perspective, the Government has its priorities right: investing in green jobs of tomorrow, stimulating the economy through clean energy technologies.”

    • Certified General Accountants Association of Canada: “The budget addresses the right priorities – continuing with necessary economic stimulus, focusing on innovation, and charting a course for a return to budget balance.”

    • Certified Management Accountants of Canada: “CMA Canada believes Budget 2010 makes Canadian businesses more globally competitive by eliminating barriers to investment in Canada and increasing their capacity to innovate. CMA Canada is encouraged that the government is focusing on innovation, such as developing a Digital Economy Strategy that will further prepare Canadian companies to meet the changing nature of global competition and ensure Canada's future economic prosperity.”

    • Canadian Federation of Independent Business was pleased with: “measures to tackle the deficit and recognize the contribution of small business in growing the economy and creating jobs.”

    • Canadian Council of Chief Executives: “2010 federal budget recognizes that economic recovery remains fragile and job creation tentative, but its commitment to fiscal discipline will ensure that Canada emerges from the current period of economic weakness in better shape than ever.”

    • Investment Industry Association of Canada: “The federal budget, released today, charts a prudent course to support recovery of the Canadian economy and bring public finances back into balance. The government has set out a realistic plan to reduce the $54 billion deficit to near fiscal balance in five years.”

    • Derek Holt, Scotia Capital economist: “I like this budget, quite frankly. I think it's the right budget for uncertain times.”