The 2011 Federal Budget delivered by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty on June 6 offered UFCW Canada members and all working families little change from the budget that was tabled on March 22 prior to the election.
Although little has changed in the budget, a lot has changed when it comes to the government’s finances. Rising oil and commodity prices will increase federal revenues thereby helping the government reduce the deficit faster than they had anticipated.
Even with this good news, the 2011 federal budget is still bad news budget for working families. The government will still continue its assault on the delivery of federal public services with $20 billion worth of spending cuts over the next five years. According to a report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), the government cuts will result in the elimination of 80,000 public sector jobs, or one third of the public sector.
While reducing public sector jobs and public services, the government is still intent on giving banks and corporations even greater tax cuts. These unnecessary breaks for corporations are not tied to job creation or investments in better production. As voters and taxpayers, UFCW Canada members need to be asking how these tax breaks will help working Canadians and their families, and how they will help our struggling seniors.
One of the budgets “new” items is the elimination of subsidies for political parties. While this may sound good to many, the actual program represents less than 0.01 per cent of the federal budget but will severely restrict the democratic process.
In a democratic country political difference or diversity is what makes a democracy. But with the elimination of the subsidy, a political party’s ability – unless you’re the governing party – to communicate with voters or run election campaigns will be severely hampered. By eliminating the subsidy, Canada will virtually stand alone along among democratic countries in believing that the political process does not need to be publically funded. Great Britain, France, Germany, Australia and the United States all subsidize political parties to support the democratic process and to ensure people have a voice and a choice.