Everyone has an opinion about yesterday’s budget! And here they are — well, some of them at least. I’ll attempt to sort them out a bit.
If you are wondering what other options we might have seen, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives last week released their annual Alternative Federal Budget for 2009. They’ve also posted an editorial piece, Why Budget 2009 Leaves Canadians in the Cold.
Spacing says Harper ignores needs of Toronto’s most vulnerable, commenting especially on transit, EI and poverty.
The Wellesley Institute agrees — Fed budget 2009: Billions in new housing spending, but not for those who need it the most:
WHO’S LEFT OUT: Hundreds of thousands of Aboriginal people living in urban, rural and remote parts of Canada who bear a major burden of homelessness and housing insecurity won’t get a single penny in new housing help. People with physical or mental health concerns who require supportive housing have been offered a mere $75 million for the entire country – an amount that will fund only a handful of new homes. The bottom line: The biggest dollars will go to those who need the least help; and the people who are facing the biggest housing challenges are left to wait for a small share of the overall spending.
Option consommateurs agrees as well: Budget fédéral – Des mesures mal ciblées, selon Option consommateurs
Bien que le budget comporte des mesures avantageuses pour les personnes à faible revenu, Option consommateurs estime qu’il ne protège pas suffisamment leur pouvoir d’achat.
Imagine Canada was disappointed the budget didn’t offer more for charities and non-profits: Impact of Federal Budget on Canada’s Charities & Nonprofits
This Budget made very little mention of Canada’s charities and nonprofit organizations as they enter a period of increasing economic difficulty in meeting their mandates to serve vulnerable Canadians – despite the fact that Canada has 161,000 registered charities and nonprofits. These organizations marshal more than 12 million volunteers and 2 billion hours of volunteer time. They employ a workforce of 2 million full-time equivalent workers – 11% of the economically active population. Together, this activity accounts for 8.5% of Canada’s GDP.
Imagine Canada, a national charitable organization that looks into and out for Canada’s charities and nonprofits, had brought forward three recommendations to the Finance Minister following a consultation process with organizations across the sector. The resulting Brief to the Finance Minister proposed measures that would have contributed to the capacity of these organizations to maintain mission-critical services to our most vulnerable citizens and communities as these organizations face new demands for services and declining resources.
Le budget fédéral a fait très peu mention des organismes de bienfaisance et à but non lucratif qui se dévouent à servir les Canadiens en cette période économique difficile. Et pourtant le Canada compte quelque 161 000 organismes de bienfaisance et à but non lucratif. Ces organismes regroupent 11,8 millions de bénévoles et plus de 2 millions de Canadiens travaillent dans ce secteur (11% de la population active au Canada). Cela représente 8.5% du PIB au pays.
Imagine Canada a adressé trois recommandations au ministre des Finances, à la suite d’un processus de consultation des organismes de tout le secteur. Un mémoire, fruit de ce processus, a été présenté au ministre des Finances pour lui proposer des mesures qui auraient pu aider ces organismes à offrir des services indispensables à nos citoyens et à nos collectivités les plus vulnérables pendant ce ralentissement économique.
The Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada was similarly unhappy — Budget 2009 confirms federal government satisfied with Canada’s last-place international ranking on child care.
The accountants don’t mind it though: Canada’s CAs give federal budget a B-plus grade.
CBC has posted a number of budget-related stories, as one might expect:
- Few surprises as government turns on the spending taps
- Bad-times budget delivers billions in tax cuts, spending
- $12B for infrastructure forms key pillar of stimulus package
- Budget sparks mixed reaction from mayors
- Health care groups applaud funding for electronic health records
And finally, a comment from Rick Mercer about access to government information, including budget information. Do read the whole thing, but here’s an excerpt:
Just when government is preparing to spend more money than any of us could have ever imagined, it’s suddenly harder to find out what they’re actually up to. Money and Secrecy. What could go wrong? It’s such a good duo. It’s right up there with gasoline and matches.
I feel I ought to post something amusing at the end here, so here’s a video of Rick Mercer helping Michael Ignatieff move into Stornoway. Watch for the Bob Rae cameo…