Disparate Liberal Debutante

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5/04/2006

We Want the World and We Want It Now

The Canada we see in this report does not reflect the one we hold in our hearts
- David Suzuki My plan was to make this post much earlier; however the Canadian government site that offers an overview of the 2006 budget isn’t running for some reason. After an ineffective search on the internet for a good enough summary, I decided I would simply do this from snippets I heard on the news, and from bits and pieces that I find around the net.

The ‘5 priorities’ of Canada’s new right wing government are accountability, lower taxes, cracking down on crime, child care and health care. I’ll cut Harper some slack here in that all of these were addressed in the budget. (Well, other than accountability, but really Harper’s monumental success to please all of us Canadians should bring our trust back to the government on it’s own, right?... *eye roll*...riiight.)

Starting July 1st Canada’s GST will be cut by 1%, a columnist from the Globe and Mail, Rob Carrick wrote a pretty good article explaining who is going to benefit from this tax deduction and included a rather comical statement:

“Big-spending parents of sports-loving children under six, this budget's for you.”

Just as a side note, on what the GST (Goods and Service tax) is actually good for, taken from a brief Wikipedia entry:

“Many also argue that a switch towards heavier consumption taxes on the European model has helped the Canadian economy become more efficient and competitive with lower-priced goods for the international market.”

So really lowering the GST isn’t going to have huge detrimental effects on Canadian citizens, but I stand my ground that taxes are here for a reason. I like to use Sweden as an example because they’re such an ideal country. Their taxes are more complex than I originally thought. Their taxes are really high, in Canadian standards, but apply at different levels to different things, and also have an energy tax. I found a pdf brochure that goes over it all really well, and also goes over all the benefits of taxes, I highly recommend reading it, if you get a chance.

Next on Harper’s list is cracking down on crime, where he and his government allocated $2.5 billion over two years on local security and also new defense. $1.1 billion of that will be going to the military, the budget and the speech both failed to mention where exactly in the military and cleverly left out Afghanistan even though 2,300 troops were just deployed there. All Mr. Flaherty (Canada’s finance minister) mentioned was:

“We will invest in the equipment needed to support a multi-role, combat-capable maritime, land and air force,”

So what about the other money? Well, its not really going towards cracking down on crime, but instead to buy guns for boarder patrol. (I’m not being really fair with that statement, as the RCMP were given $161 million to hire and train 1000 new RCMP officers, and an additional $37 million to go towards their facilities.)

The big deal on the budget was the new Universal Child Care. Parents will receive monthly installments of $100 per month, per child under the age of 6 in addition to creating more space in day cares. Where are all these new workers coming from to work at these day cares? Last I checked ECE workers don’t get paid a whole lot, and good day cares cost up to $300 a week per child. In addition, I found an article at Canoe News (debatably the best source for Canadian news on the net…) on the issue…

“"As proposed to date, the new $1,200 child-care allowance will be a flawed scheme creating deep inequities," it says in a report that calculates the impact of existing clawbacks and taxes.

"Working poor and modest-income families will end up with low net benefits, and one-earner couples will get more than single parents and two-earner couples. For example, an Ontario two-earner couple with net family income of $30,000 would end up with just $199, while a $200,000 one-earner couple would get a net benefit of $1,076." “

Finally on Harpers list is health care, the article, Little new money seen for health care really says all that I would say about it, except that I’m really worried about health care becoming completely privatized. It’s a scary thought.

In addition to these issues with the budget there are a few more things I would like to point out. The first is apparent lack of culture the new budget has. Last year the liberals promised the Canadian Council for the Arts $150 million over three years, the new budget is going $50 million over two years instead. The big issue I see with this is that it’s going to start advocating for private investments into the arts, which will then privatize things like Art Galleries and the like. No longer will trips to go see Canada’s famous Group of Seven art exhibit be cheap enough for schools all over Ontario to be able to go see.

Next, Harper has flat out broke promises to the Native people of Canada. They were not designated enough money to help with the education, housing and standard of living for the 600 native reserves that are found across Canada. The Kelowna agreement that was being made for aboriginals with the Paul Martin government included:

But instead:

The Conservative government allocated $150 million in 2006 and $300 million in 2007 to improve education programs, provide clean water, upgrade mostly off-reserve housing and close the socio-economic gap between aboriginal Canadians and the rest of the population.

The Kelowna deal would have set aside $600 million in 2006 alone to improve health, education and housing standards.

Those numbers were taken from an article on CBC where they also do a really nice, really quick outline of what exactly is going on in the budget and who is getting what money, access that by clicking here. The great thing about CBC is that, no matter how bad things look, they always make it look alright. I love CBC, but I don’t love the new budget.

My final little rant on the budget is that of the environment, or the lack there of. The only thing that Harper did in regards to the environment was give tax returns for people who frequently use public transit. That’s cool, but that’s not even close to enough. There needs to me so much money put towards lowering emissions and so on. Instead there was over $1 billion dollars in subsidies to oil and gas industries. :(

-Kian
|| Kian, 1:22:00 AM