Canada: CCPA calls on federal government to scrap spending cut plans

With the release of its annual Alternative Federal Budget, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) urges the federal government to table a detailed budget that restores Canadians’ trust in the economy, public institutions, and democracy.

The proposal launched by the CCPA, one of the national focal points of Social Watch in the North American country, addresses the concerns of mainstream Canada by putting forward a public investment plan that promotes a better quality of life for all Canadians, not just an elite few.

“Recent public opinion polls indicate Canadians are losing faith in the direction this country is headed, but there’s little indication that their federal government is listening,” says CCPA Senior Economist David Macdonald.

“The Harper government has been dodging the issues facing Canadians, and has signaled it will table a budget short on details about its planned $4-8 billion in spending cuts. We’re calling on this government to deliver a transparent budget that protects the services Canadians rely on and scrap costly programs like new prisons and fighter jets that don’t reflect the priorities of mainstream Canada.”

The Alternative Federal Budget shows the government can invest in public programs, job creation, and infrastructure to the benefit of all Canadians and still balance the books.

“The middle class is in a slump, young people are struggling to start their lives, infrastructure is crumbling, and concerns about environmental sustainability are brushed off in the rush to sell our natural resources. Canadians need an action plan that wrestles with these big issues and that’s exactly what the Alternative Federal Budget offers,” says CCPA Senior Economist Armine Yalnizyan.

“The annual document from the CCPA is at 202-pages almost as thick as [Minister of Finance] Jim Flaherty’s real budget will be. But that’s where similarities end,” explained journalist Julian Beltrame in his report for The Canadian Press.

“Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Flaherty have already made clear the March 29 budget will rein in spending, introduce new austerity to save $4 billion to $8 billion annually, cut back on the public service, and propose reductions to elderly benefits. That’s the wrong approach to a balanced budget, says the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, and will entrench a lost decade of slow economic growth and high unemployment,” added Beltrame.


The Alternative Federal Budget plan:

■ Tackles poverty and income inequality through public programs including education, affordable housing, public pensions, universal pharmacare, and national child care.

■ Creates 329,000 jobs at its peak, lowering the unemployment rate to below 6%.

■ Calls on the affluent to contribute their fair share, by closing tax loopholes for the wealthy and ending the federal government’s failed corporate tax cut experiment.

■ Turns Canada into an environmental leader with a forward-looking green strategy.

■ Repairs the Canadian cities and builds sustainable communities with a long-term physical infrastructure program.

More information
Alternative Federal Budget 2012:
Ten Ways to Make the Federal Budget Work for the Rest of Us (in PDF format):



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