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NEWS: Flaherty dismisses Alternative Federal Budget

The Canadian Press reports that the Alternative Federal Budget has been released, “which Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has already dismissed out of hand, sight unseen. …(The budget argues) Flaherty should be investing billions of dollars to rebuild Canada’s infrastructure and in measures to reduce poverty through investments in child care, pharmacare, affordable housing, post-secondary education, and better income supports. The alternative budget also would boost spending to meet the crisis in First Nations communities, including for housing, drinking water and education.”

Among the demands in the AFB’s water chapter written by Council of Canadians water campaigner Emma Lui are:

  • a 20-year plan that would require a federal investment of $39 billion in a National Public Water and Wastewater Fund;
  • $1 billion annually for 20 years to fund the wastewater systems effluent regulations;
  • a 10-year plan investing $4.7 billion for water and wastewater facilities on First Nation reserves;
  • $500 million to implement a Great Lakes Action Plan;
  • $2 million annually to reinstate the Experimental Lakes Area.

Today the Ottawa Citizen reports that the Harper government has cut $60 billion in corporate taxes since first taking power in 2006 – reducing the country’s corporate tax rate to the lowest among G8 countries. Five years ago the corporate tax rate was 19.5 per cent, now it stands at 15 per cent. The Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer estimates that increasing the general corporate income tax rate by one point would generate an extra $1.3 billion annually. In 2006-07, corporate income tax represented 16 per cent of federal revenues, while by 2011-12, it accounted for 12.9 per cent of federal revenues. Harper is now pursuing austerity measures with a federal deficit estimated at $26 billion and seeking to ‘balance the books’ within two years.

Earlier this week iPolitics reported, “A left-leaning think tank is advocating an alternative federal budget that would shift away from economic austerity measures and focus on a wage-driven recovery through federal infrastructure spending to create jobs and grow Canada’s economy. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives budget would aim to create 300,000 new jobs in the next year and raise economic growth to 4.6 per cent through a series of social spending projects including affordable housing and health care, more taxes on the wealthy and closing tax loopholes and havens.” While the Canadian Press article noted, “According to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, if Ottawa follows its proposals, it will still be able to balance the books by 2016. The Conservative government has given short attention to the CCPA’s recommendations in the past and is unlikely to adopt any in this year’s budget, expected in the last week of this month.”

To read Lui’s media release ‘Water crisis calls for long-term plan, not constant cuts, says Alternative Federal Budget’, please go to http://canadians.org/media/water/2013/12-Mar-13.html. Trade campaigner Stuart Trew’s blog ‘Alternative Federal Budget would take investor rights, patent protection out of CETA and TPP’ can be read at http://canadians.org/blog/?p=19947.