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.

First Speech from the Throne of the 40th Parliament

Reactions (if you represent a stakeholder and would like to see your release quoted here, email me):

Liberal:

The official Opposition is focused on making Parliament work for all Canadians during this time of economic turmoil and will not oppose today’s Speech from the Throne, Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion said today.

“By electing a minority government, Canadians are asking Parliament to work together to see our country through the economic challenges that we now face,” said Mr. Dion. “Demanding strong action from this government on the economy will be our primary task as the official Opposition.”

NDP:

“It’s more of the same and people . . . want bold action” (no statement yet on the NDP site)

Canadian Taxpayers Federation:

Today’s throne speech earns a mixed review … The speech contains some good, some bad, and in some cases, downright ugly news for taxpayers moving forward in uncertain economic times.

The federal government will find Canadians are receptive to taking aim at wasteful programs, and a pledge to control the growth in the size and cost of the public service is welcome news. … It is unacceptable that a modern 21st century democracy appoints one quarter of its lawmakers. Keeping Senate reform on the agenda is a good move.

The Throne Speech seems to prepare for a return to deficit spending when it states that it would be “misguided to commit to a balanced budget at any cost.” … It is worrisome that a responsible government would be prepared to spend more than it takes in during tough times … Responsible Canadians do not have this luxury, why should governments? The federal government should leave no stone unturned in its pursuit of keeping the books in the black and getting spending under control is the first step … Taxpayers should be warned that a ‘cap-and-trade’ tax scheme is the evil twin of a carbon tax. Either way, it means higher energy prices and a costly bureaucratic mess that couldn’t come at a worse time. … Also, ugly is a commitment to offer further aid to the auto and aerospace industries.

Federation of Canadian Municipalities:

The Government of Canada has recognized the need to boost Canada’s economy in the face of worldwide financial turmoil and an impending recession, and it has chosen infrastructure spending as one of the remedies. We agree with the diagnosis and applaud this choice of remedy. Spending on infrastructure is a tried-and-true response to an economic slowdown. A study released by FCM earlier this month shows that accelerated infrastructure spending is the best way to boost our country’s economy and immunize it against a recession.

National Union of Public and General Employees:

It’s clear from this throne speech that the Harper government doesn’t view healthcare as a top priority and in fact seems to suggest the job is pretty much done.

That’s a huge disappointment for over-worked health professionals and patients waiting for critical services who are expecting and demanding national leadership on healthcare issues.

Canadian Labour Congress:

Today’s Throne Speech offers little hope or assurance to thousands of people being hit hard by the economic crisis, says Ken Georgetti, president of the Canadian Labour Congress.

“This speech is supposed to put forward the government’s vision for the future,” Georgetti says, “but what Canadians heard today won’t help them sleep any easier tonight and some of what they heard may well give them nightmares. People want jobs and if they lose them they want protection but I don’t see those promises here.”

Canadian Housing and Renewal Association:

We commend the federal government for remembering that four million Canadians still cannot afford adequate housing and that 300,000 people experience homelessness in Canada annually. Today’s throne speech made promises for health care, jobs, the environment, and family life in order to help Canadians fully participate in the economy and in society, and it has to be remembered that housing is the foundation of this participation and therefore needs to be a top priority.

Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada:

Today’s Speech from the Throne gives some hope for the four million Canadians who lack decent affordable housing, the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada said today. The government committed to extending the Homelessness Partnering Strategy and helping more Canadians find affordable housing.

The Canadian Lung Association:

The Lung Association is pleased to see the government’s Throne Speech commitment to improving the lung health of Canadians.

Approximately 6 million people in Canada struggle with asthma, COPD, lung cancer and other lung diseases. The fact that the government has recognized how critical it is to improve the lung health of Canadians is excellent news and a clear sign that they wish to continue partnering on building a Canada free of lung disease.

Canadian Bankers Association:

he Canadian Bankers Association (CBA) fully supports the federal government’s commitment to a common securities regulator in Canada as announced in today’s Speech from the Throne. This step, along with other recent initiatives to facilitate credit markets in Canada, indicates that the government continues to take an appropriate and measured approach to deal with the global economic situation.

Canadian Chemical Producers’ Association:

In its Speech from the Throne, the Government of Canada has pledged “To further reduce the cost pressures on Canadian business, our Government will take measures to encourage companies to invest in new machinery and equipment.”

The Canadian Chemical Producers’ Association (CCPA), along with other manufacturers, has been advocating such measures.

Canadian Association of Retired Persons:

CARP chapters and retiree groups were disappointed to learn that no action was promised in the Throne Speech to address the threats to their retirement security wrought by the current market chaos.

CARP chapters and other retiree groups across the cross country assembled to listen to the Throne Speech in the hopes of hearing what the government would do to respond to the clamour for immediate relief and longer term protection of their pensions.

On Liberal carbon tax hikes and Conservative excise tax cuts

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities put out this release today:

FCM Campaign Reality Check

Conservative Diesel Tax Cut proposal does nothing for transit riders, systems

A two cent cut in the excise tax on diesel fuel is worth $ 9.2 million per year to Canada’s transit systems – less than one quarter of one percent of their $ 4.8 billion in annual operating costs (Source: Canadian Urban Transit Association, 2007).

The proposed cut will cost the federal treasury $600 million per year. Less than two percent of those dollars, or one dollar in 60, will directly benefit transit systems.

A Strategic Counsel survey released last week showed that 8 in 10 Canadians think the federal government should dedicate more of its fuel tax revenues to repairing and building public transit systems. This announcement does not touch on investment needs.

Six in 10 Canadians say they would be more likely to take public transit if service was improved. The excise tax cut will do nothing to get more buses on the road or improve existing commuter rail service.

One in five Canadians are ready to switch to public transit because of the high price of filling up their cars. But most urban transit systems are at or beyond capacity at peak hours. New federal funding – not marginal tax cuts – are needed to help Canadians make the switch from cars to transit.

The priority for transit systems are for new investments, not cuts to the fuel tax.

For more information, contact: Maurice Gingues, FCM – (613) 907-6395

The mayor of Ottawa sent the following email out to all of the major city mayors across Canada:

The excise tax cut announced today by Stephen Harper was targeted towards farmers and truckers. However, as a side benefit, it helps municipalities which use diesel fuel for their buses and other forms of mass transit. The FCM complains that more could be done for transit costs by the federal government, however, today they were handed an unexpected bonus.

Economic update

Here are the main points of Flaherty’s economic update:

  • Eliminate the net debt by 2021

  • Reduce debt to 25% of GDP by 2012-13
  • inflation target at 2% until at least 2011
  • GST at 5% by 2011
  • Working Income Tax Benefit for low-middle income Canadians
  • Income tax reductions based on interest that would have been paid on the debt. Debt reduction will result directly in income tax cuts.
  • Establish lowest tax on business investment in G7.
  • Large investments in the knowledge and training economy

Here’s the executive summary of Advantage Canada.

Income splitting, but just for seniors. No GST cut yet.

VERDICT: Nothing too exciting. A good direction forward.

UPDATE: David Akin sends me a correction live from the finance committee! It’s NET debt that’ll be gone by 2021, not the debt.

UPDATE: NDP finance critic Judy Wasylycia-Leis is decrying the Conservative plan to put so many surplus dollars against the debt. A sound endorsement!

UPDATE: Liberal finance critic John MacCallum isn’t impressed and believes that this doesn’t change anything. Underlines the distinction of “net-debt” and calls it a gimmick. Net-debt is a valid OECD measure though.

UPDATE: reaction from stakeholders (the ones that do press releases!)…

The Canadian Real Estate Association
(CREA) and its more than 88,000 REALTOR(R) members across Canada welcomed the
federal government’s identification of tax, fiscal, and infrastructure issues
as key elements to improve the quality of life for all Canadians. The three
were among the five Canadian Advantages outlined in the Fall Economic
Statement delivered by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty today.

One of the proposals outlined by Minister Flaherty in the Advantage
Canada document was the reduction of taxes on savings, including capital
gains, to make Canada’s tax system more competitive. REALTORS(R) have been
calling on the federal government to implement a capital gains rollover
provision for small investors when the proceeds of the sale of real property
are reinvested in another real property investment within a set timeframe.

Certified Management Accountants:

CMA Canada is encouraged by the direction of
Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s economic and fiscal update and looks
forward to the government accepting its recommendations to achieve economic
objectives.

“We are pleased that the economic groundwork laid out by the Finance Minister today is aligned with our recommendations to the government,” said Michael Tinkler, CMA Canada’s public finance analyst. “However, the proof will be seen in the specific measures delivered in the next federal budget.”

Canada’s life and health insurers:

Canada’s life and health insurers strongly commended the government’s Advantage Canada economic plan. CLHIA President Greg Traversy said, “The combination of tax reduction, debt reduction and paper burden reduction will position Canadians to compete effectively and prosper over the years ahead. Life and health insurers particularly welcome the commitment to foster a dynamic and globally competitive financial services industry and look forward to continuing their own efforts towards that goal in the context of the improved business environment set out in Minister Flaherty’s plan.”

Greg Sobara, Minister of Finance of Ontario:

The federal government’s economic update
contains a few positive signals that Ottawa may be listening to Ontario’s call
for fairness in federal transfers, Finance Minister Greg Sorbara says. “What I don’t see – and this disappoints me – is any detail on anything except tax cuts and debt reduction,” Sorbara said. “There are no specifics on how they’re going to invest in infrastructure. There are no specifics on how they’re going to address the fiscal imbalance. There are no specifics on how they’re going to invest in post-secondary education.”

CUPE:

“Today’s Fiscal and Economic Update shows
that Stephen Harper’s government is trying to buy the votes of Canadians with
the promise of more tax cuts that could lead to deep spending cuts in the
future,” said Paul Moist, national president of Canada’s largest union – CUPE.

Certified General Accountants:

The Certified General Accountants
Association of Canada (CGA-Canada) is pleased with the federal government’s
plan to boost Canada’s productivity and global competitiveness. Of special interest to CGAs are the government’s policy commitments relating to: Program spending, the Canadian economic union [and] the business environment “We welcome the government’s policy commitments. The plan to reduce taxes, streamline the regulatory environment, reduce the paper burden and remove internal trade barriers will address Canada’s competitiveness”

Federation of Canadian Municipalities:

“We welcome the reaffirmation of the Government’s commitment to work
toward a comprehensive infrastructure plan that includes long-term and
predictable funding. The extension for two additional years of the federal gas tax transfer is an important first step as we transition toward a longer term effort to erase Canada’s municipal infrastructure deficit. This also signals the Government’s long-term commitment to vibrant and competitive cities and communities.

Canadian Taxpayers Federation:

“Since 1997, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation has called for Ottawa to implement a legislated debt relief schedule and eliminate the debt in a generation,” said CTF federal director John Williamson. “Today, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced the Government of Canada will do just that.”

Williamson continued, “We applaud Mr. Flaherty for embracing and adopting policy advanced by the taxpayers’ federation, but for this policy to be meaningful the Conservative government must table legislation to make it the law of the land. Otherwise it is an empty promise. With the national debt standing at $481.5-billion, lawmakers cannot afford to not take debt repayment seriously.”



“In the May budget, Minister Flaherty reported program spending would grow by 5.3 per cent this year yet today he reported the annual spending increase will instead be 7.1 per cent,” observed Williamson. “The government has already betrayed its commitment to keep program spending below the growth rate of the economy. Economic growth is estimated to be 2.8 per cent this year. It is disappointing the Conservative government’s spending is already way off target. And if spending targets are missed, meaningful tax relief in the next budget can’t happen and debt repayment just isn’t possible either.”