My opinion on the Federal Budget

So I spent part of yesterday looking around for some information on Canada’s Federal budget in the hopes of getting a clearer understanding of the details. I’m no economist and I was sure that I would be able to find some better qualified people out there to give me an overview of the good, the bad and the ugly of our budget. Boy, was I disappointed. All of the coverage that I found seemed so politicized – if the publication was conservative-leaning, then the budget was overly generous; if the publication was liberal-leaning, then the budget wasn’t generous enough. I was just looking for an unbiased analysis that answered the question “is this budget good for Canada?” and “does it protect those who need it most in these tough economic times?”. Instead, everything I read seemed focused on whether it was good for the various political parties. I have no doubt that an unbiased summary is out there somewhere but I am disappointed that I couldn’t find it.

As for the budget, which I read online at http://www.budget.gc.ca/2008/home-accueil-eng.asp, I think it’s just okay. I understand that the focus of the budget needs to be on economic stimulus although according to this article http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/578264, it falls short of recommendations made by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). I am personally disappointed that there is not more in there to address poverty and protect our most vulnerable citizens. You can read Make Poverty History’s response to the budget here http://www.makepovertyhistory.ca/en/blog/budget-analysis-little-help-those-who-need-it-most. I was personally happy with the tax cut section as it seemed focused on parents and seniors. The infrastructure allocations are positive although there seems to be some concern out there about how complicated it will be for the provinces and municipalities to actually get that money – we certainly don’t need more government red tape in these already trying times. Finally, there is a “nod” to green infrastructure initiatives but personally, I don’t feel it’s enough. You can read a differing opinion here though http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2009/01/28/raphael-alexander-need-more-stimulus-move-south.aspx.

I am glad that Mr. Ignatieff ultimately supported the budget. Although I think the budget is “just ok” and certainly could be better in many areas, the last thing our country needs now is another election. A little bi-partisanship is okay by me.

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