Monday, March 28

Harper Budget Offers Crumbs for Families

* The Conservatives are offering crumbs for seniors, family care and learning and making the wrong economic choices by spending billions on corporate tax breaks, mega-prisons and stealth fighters.

* Seniors: The Conservatives spent more on the G20 in a single day than this budget has for seniors in an entire year. They are giving 20 times more to Canada’s richest corporations than to the poorest seniors.

* Learning: The Conservatives are spending 1,000 times more on fighter jets than post-secondary students.

* Family care: They spent three times as much on self-promoting advertising than this budget has for family care next year.

* Public safety: The Conservatives are spending 1,000 times more on mega-prisons than youth crime prevention.

* Conservative budget numbers don’t add up and can’t be trusted. The Harper regime ran up a record $56-billion deficit and has shown contempt for Parliament and Canadians by hiding the true costs of their $6-billion corporate tax cuts, $13-billion mega-prisons and $30-billion stealth fighters.

Small Business

* The Conservatives are borrowing $6 billion – and adding to Canada’s record debt – to pay for more corporate tax breaks for the top 5% most wealthy businesses in Canada – these extra tax breaks do not help small business.

* In January, the Conservatives raised job-killing payroll taxes for all Canadian businesses when they increased EI premiums.


* There are more than 100,000 fewer full-time jobs in Canada today compared to the fall of 2008.

* All of the net new work created since then is part-time, a fact the Conservatives conveniently left out of their budget.

* Youth unemployment is nearly twice the national average.

Low-income Canadians

* The Conservatives deliberately excluded low-income Canadians from qualifying for measures under this budget – like the Family Caregiver Tax Credit and the Volunteer Firefighters Tax Credit – by making the tax credits non-refundable. Non-refundable tax credits only help Canadians who earned enough income that year to pay income taxes. But low-income Canadians get left in the cold.

* Under the Conservative plan, a volunteer firefighter with a dependent who earns $20,000 a year would get no money from the Conservatives’ tax credit. The Liberal proposal is for a refundable tax credit.

* The Conservatives deliberately excluded the poorest caregivers, with a paltry $300 from a non-refundable tax credit that isn’t even available to low-income Canadians. A Canadian taxpayer earning $20,000 with a dependent wouldn’t qualify for any help as a caregiver. Compare this to the Liberal Family Care Plan that would offer up to $1,350 for low- and middle-income Canadians, and help Canadians take time off work with a Family Care EI benefit.


* Under the Conservatives, a senior who earns $170 per month (outside of Old Age Security) is considered to be so rich that the new $50-a-month GIS supplement will be clawed back. And if they have a pension of $366 a month, they’re too wealthy to receive even a penny of the GIS increase.

* By choosing not to cut corporate taxes, the Liberal Party will be able to do more for seniors than this budget does.

Child care and affordable housing

* The budget has no plan for child care or affordable housing.

Health care

* We are on the eve of important negotiations with the provinces on health care. In 2004, the previous Liberal government invested $41 billion in health care. But that funding is set to run out in 2014, and must be renegotiated. This budget has no credible plan to deal with long-term health care costs and to improve care quality – and instead spends $30 billion on stealth fighters and $13 billion on mega-prisons.

Hidden costs

* This Conservative regime still refuses to provide Canadians with detailed information on the cost of their prison bills and their untendered stealth fighter jet deal. This completely undermines the credibility of the entire budget. They expect MPs to vote on this budget without knowing how much these things will cost.

* The Parliamentary Budget Officer has already said the costs of the jets is double what the Conservatives say. And both the PBO and the IMF have shown that the Conservatives’ promise to balance the books simply isn’t credible. In fact, they are on track to adding $200 billion in new debt over the next five years.

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