Posts Tagged ‘Budget’

‘I’ve heard that song before.’

Wednesday, April 21st, 2021

It was a confused kindergarten teacher who once asked me why my daughter would tell her and the class that her mother went to hotels at night with men. She was quite relieved when I explained that my wife sang with a 21-piece swing orchestra and they performed frequently at Toronto hotels.

Listening to finance minister Chrystia Freeland delivering her budget document reminded me of a popular song from the swing era that my wife often sang. It was the 1942 hit, recorded by Harry James with Helen Forest, ‘I’ve heard that song before.’

After about a half an hour of that budget, it seemed to me that I had heard that song before. Only, this time, I was bored.

I must admit that I am delighted that after so many years of talking about it, we just might do something about adequate, low-cost daycare for working parents. It sounds to me like there will be a lot of negotiations with the provinces before the dust settles on this proposal.

But that will just be practice for the coming fight over who has the jurisdiction over long term care homes. Decent national standards might be a lengthy process to achieve.

They only want to spend a couple billion to replace Canada’s ability to develop and produce vaccines. And to think the original investment in Canada’s Connaught Laboratories was the cost of building some horse stables.

I hope it was just a sick joke when the budget said the minimum federal wage was only to be raised to $15 per hour. Try living on that?

There were also allocations for high technology in support of a green future that will be welcomed by those familiar with the technologies.

What I did not see in this first budget from Ms. Freeland was any daring, any surprise, any thing for a better future for our country. It was disappointing.

I suppose, as a senior, I should also welcome the little bonus the budget threw my way for being a senior. I guess it is nice to be recognized occasionally.

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Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  plowry904@gmail.com

Billions to nowhere.

Friday, March 26th, 2021

It seems strange to have a provincial budget that spends close to $200 billion in the coming year and ignores the most vulnerable among us. It is a budget that will increase the provincial debt by about $33 billion and raises no taxes. You have to remember that this is a conservative budget in a country locked in an outmoded constitution.

With provinces committed to funding education and health care, they have the excuse of the pandemic to fall back on. There are few savings in education as we struggle with opening and closing schools and the variables of computer education that are devolved to the caregiver—often a working-from-home parent. At the same time, the costs of health care grow exponentially as covid 19 rapes the system and as millionaire ophthalmologists and radiologists continue to play the system.

There is small relief for small business. They were hit the hardest by the lock downs that we are not even sure are over. And there is a little extra help for families with little ones.

Where the greatest needs were ignored was in the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). More than 360,000 Ontario citizens are being forced into desperation by a program that does not and cannot meet their needs. At a time when food banks are desperate to try to continue helping, and both shelter prices in Ontario and grocery prices are rising, these people were ignored.

The conservative budget also ignored the plight of personal support workers who had received a temporary increase in wages to try to keep them working with long-term care. There was not even a continued increase for these workers. The government forgot all the promises that had been made.

Thankfully, the conservatives forgot to mention the new Highway 413 that went from nowhere west of Georgetown, through wetlands and built-up areas to crowded highways north of Toronto. If it continues to be forgotten, we will be pleased about that one aspect of the current budget.

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Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  plowry904@gmail.com

 

Back to the Future with Joe Oliver

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

Finance Minister Joe Oliver brought Canadians his first budget yesterday. Instead of it being a budget for the coming fiscal year of our government, he tried to line things up for the next ten years. It was a very Conservative view of our future. And we can only hope that it is Joe Oliver’s final budget and the final Conservative budget.

It was more of a manifesto than a budget. Yet, it lacked a clear direction. It lacked compassion. It was in many cases blatant bribery. The continuing reductions in business taxes makes you wonder when it will cost more to collect them than the Treasury gains.

And if you have an extra $10,000 to put into a tax free savings account, do you need the tax break?

You certainly have to admit that the Conservatives are very kind to rich families. That leaves the rest of us on the outside looking in.

This seems to be a uniquely Conservative style of budget. It’s like the cheque is in the mail—two years from now. It is delayed gratification—only for those who vote properly.

And that is all this budget is designed for. Vote Conservative, vote often.

Only a government that knows it is going down the tubes would be so blatant about it.

What was really wrong with the document Oliver read was that there was nothing to succour our young people looking for work and careers. There were no instant jobs. There were no jobs in the future either. There was nothing to address the needs of Canada’s aboriginal peoples.

If you were looking for creativity, imagination, nation building simple kindness or fairness, you were tuned to the wrong channel. Joe Oliver does not do that stuff.

Frankly, Joe Oliver was a bad choice for finance minister. Harper could have done much better with someone in the role who does not look like the mad scientist in that children’s movie starring Michael J. Fox. The better choice would have been someone in a more Santa Clause style such as Conservative Senator Mike Duffy.

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Copyright 2015 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to peter@lowry.me

#11 – Flaherty’s floundering financial fix.

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

There are no more passing report cards for Jim Flaherty. Harper’s finance minister is toast. On November 27 last year, he brought the Harper government to its knees with an ill-conceived economic statement that ignored reality. Given a reprieve by the Governor General, he brought in a budget at the end of January that made everybody choke. All it did was ensure our federal government would fall deeper in debt. He produced a budget that lacked planning and focus and did no measureable good for anybody.

In fact, the budget did more wrong than right. It trivialized the serious flaws in Canada’s employment insurance and, in doing so, kept funds from the people in the most desperate need. All his tax cuts could do was put the country deeper into debt. They did nothing to solve the immediate problems: the need for job creation and financial stimulus.

The budget made much of a tax credit amounting to 15 per cent of the costs of some limited home improvements that homeowners carry out this year. You get the tax credit next year. Home Depot or Rona can beat that deal any time with just some sharp marketing and give you money back at the same time.

The municipal infrastructure support plan has been a bad political joke. It is not enough and Flaherty failed to solve the basic problems of how to get the money moving immediately to where needed. Besides, infrastructure programs do not receive funding until announced in the community at least six times, by the local Conservative politician. If you do not have one of those people representing your riding, you can hardly expect very much largess from Ottawa.

The only hope for Flaherty’s foolishness was that President Obama’s rescue plan for America would cover all of North America. It did not as Americans, once again, proved that their idea of free trade is not fair trade. We have to work hard on the Americans to convince them that we are all in the same boat. We also have to cheer on Obama’s recovery program because when he gets the U.S. out of the deep doo-doo, it will pull our economy with it. And that is reality.

Meanwhile, Flaherty has missed every opportunity to soften the short-term recession hit for Canadians. We need to get cash money into the hands of people who are going to spend it immediately. Any program that can do that is worthwhile. All the rest are lies. While watching details on that January budget on television, Canadians were seeing commercials touting the Conservative’s tax-free savings plan. Our taxes (or deficit) pay for those television commercials that encouraged Canadians to do what is the most harmful thing in our current economic situation: put their money in banks. And they have been doing it in record numbers.

What Flaherty’s budget did accomplish was to wash out the proposed coalition of the Liberals and NDP supported by the Bloc Québécois. It was hardly that the budget was too persuasive. If anything, it was because the budget was so bad. The Liberal’s Michael Ignatieff saw that he did not need the coalition. Without the threat to political funding that was in the earlier economic statement, Ignatieff could let the Conservatives destroy themselves. Over the summer, Canadians will continue to get ample evidence that Harper’s government has no answers. This fall or, at the latest, early next year, everybody will be ready for an election. It is hardly the best solution for Canadians but Ignatieff needed the time to get his party organized and, at the same time, let the voters see the ineptness of the Conservatives.

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