Jim Flaherty released the federal budget yesterday afternoon, and as expected it presented a “business-as-usual” approach. Announced in the midst of the Sochi Olympics, Budget 2014 contained few new policy announcements, achieving its goal of a quiet release.
Have you ever wondered what the federal budget would look like if Citizens for Public Justice and other anti-poverty, environmental, and civil society organizations had the chance to write it?
It’s all contained in this year’s Alternative Federal Budget (AFB), a collaborative project CPJ and several of our partner organizations contribute to annually. It was released earlier this week by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
Budgets matter. Whether for a household, business, or government, they not only ensure we are being wise stewards of the resources entrusted to us, but reflect our values and priorities. They can be instruments used to bless and enrich the world around us, or they can perpetuate greed and self-interest.
This is the third in a three-part series highlighting CPJ’s recommendations for the 2014 federal budget as contained in Fulfilling our Collective Responsibility. This week, we discuss the injustice facing privately sponsored refugees in Canada.
While CPJ has publicly raised questions about the integrity of the pre-budget consultation process, we believe that now, more than ever, the voice of public justice needs to be heard in Ottawa, and that continued engagement with our elected officials is a far better choice than disengagement or apathy.
Budget 2013 makes it is clear that the federal government is continuing on the same trajectory. This budget provides little hope for people concerned about poverty and the environment. Economic growth and job training are the top priorities, unfortunately at the expense of almost all else.
Today, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) released the annual Alternative Federal Budget (AFB) 2013 in advance of the federal budget expected in late March. This year’s AFB, entitled, “Doing Better Together” proposes a financial plan that focuses on the public good as opposed to austerity measures that undermine growth and hurt low-income Canadians the most.
Download the brief
Pundits have written this budget off as modest, and even better than expected after all the hype over predicted austerity measures. Finance Minister Flaherty himself emphasized that cuts to spending are much smaller than the reductions in the mid-1990s.
In truth, Canadians are about to lose a lot more than pennies in a budget that delivers substantial and politically symbolic cuts. In combination with unilateral changes to federal-provincial transfers, actions taken in the budget are designed to further erode the presence of the federal government in the lives of Canadians—a strategy that translates into the laying off thousands of public servants and elimination of key public programs.
We’ve been warned. The next federal budget, expected in March, will be first and foremost about cuts to public programs, with the express goal of reducing the federal deficit over the next few years, and reducing the debt accumulated since the 2008-09 recession. Even as the economic news last Fall suggested that the recovery was losing steam, the Finance Minister was reconfirming the government’s intent to bring down the deficit as quickly as possible.