FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS IN 50 MILLION DOLLARS IN DEFECIT THIS YEAR
Chris Selley’s Full Pundit: Brother, can you spare 500 billion dimes? National Post - May 28, 2009 Jim Flaherty is easily the worst finance minister in Canadian history,
Flaherty says he won’t resign over deficit outrage. Canada.com - May 28, 2009 OTTAWA – Finance Minister Jim Flaherty insisted Thursday that Canada is in “good shape” despite news the federal deficit would exceed $50 billion this …
Flaherty fails his own 120-day test: No jobs, no infrastructure, at least $50 billion deficit OTTAWA – Having arrived at Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s 120-day self-imposed deadline for stimulus spending, the only result the Harper Conservatives can point to is a record deficit of at least $50-billion and stalled stimulus projects throughout the country, Finance Critic John McCallum said today.
Just the Facts: Jim Flaherty’s top 10 mismanagement moments ”"I’m comfortable with our projections. I’m staying with our budget projection. We’re on track.”
- Jim Flaherty on the budget deficit, April 22, 2009
1. Broken promise on income trusts. By imposing a punitive 31.5 per cent tax on income trusts, the Conservative government raided the hard-earned savings of Canadian seniors.
2. Record deficits. Minister Flaherty appears incapable of managing Canada’s finances. In September, he said there wouldn’t be a recession. In October, he promised no deficits. In November, he predicted a surplus. In January, he tabled a budget with a $34 billion deficit. Yesterday, it turned into a deficit of at least $50 billion – the largest in Canadian history.
3. Raised income taxes. The 2006 Conservative Budget legislated an increase in the lowest tax rate to 15.5 per cent as of July 1, 2006, reversing the previous Liberal government’s reduction to the lowest personal income tax rate from 16 per cent to 15 per cent effective January 1, 2005.
4. Failure to get Building Canada Fund infrastructure spending out the door. In the first year following the launch of the $8.8-billion Building Canada Fund, the Conservative government flowed zero funding to infrastructure projects. As recently as February 2009, officials at Infrastructure Canada admitted that of the $1.5 billion announced in its first two years of budgeted spending, only $80 million has flowed for municipal infrastructure projects across the country – only 5%.
5. Broken 120-day economic stimulus promise. Minister Flaherty’s January 2009 budget explicitly stated, “Measures to support the economy must begin within the next 120 days to be most effective.” Yet recent media reports confirm that little infrastructure money has flowed, even for projects strictly under federal jurisdiction.
6. Broken promise on equalization. Minister Flaherty’s 2007 budget broke his government’s promise to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador that they would honour the Atlantic Accord commitment to leave 100 per cent of benefits from offshore resources exempt from equalization calculations.
7. Fudging the environmental benefit of the public transit tax credit. Minister Flaherty dedicated $635 million to a public transit tax credit that his government claimed would reduce green house gas emissions by 220,000 per year. Environment Canada amended the figure for expected reductions to an average of 35,000 tonnes per year-about 16 percent of the original estimate. In February 2009, Auditor General Sheila Fraser concluded that the public transit tax credit will have a negligible impact on Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. She went on to say that it is almost impossible to measure actual greenhouse gas emission reductions attributable to the tax credit, as many factors influence public transit ridership, including the price of gasoline.
8. Fiscal update led to Parliamentary crisis. Minister Flaherty’s 2008 Fall Economic Statement caused a Parliamentary crisis by proposing zero economic stimulus measures on the eve of the recession, focusing instead on partisan measures and cutting funding for pay equity. Prime Minister Harper was forced to prorogue Parliament to save his job, but not before he nearly sparked a national unity crisis by pitting region against region with his rhetoric in the House of Commons.
9. Cuts to culture funding. Minister Flaherty cut $45 million of federal culture funding last year, despite the fact that Canada’s culture sector directly contributed $46 billion – 3.8 per cent – to Canada’s GDP in 2007. The cuts affected every sector in the culture industry, be it international touring for performing arts groups, funding for new-media research or independent film production, or financial support for Canadian writers – touching off a Canada-wide backlash among cultural organizations.
10. Cuts to scientific research. Minister Flaherty cut funding by $148 million in January’s budget to Canada’s three granting councils-the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Canadian Institutes for Health Research and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. According to Statistics Canada, total federal funding for science and technology in 2008 was $365 million less than in 2005 when adjusted for inflation.