The Canadian federal government’s surplus of $13.2 billion will all go to paying down the debt, no tax savings, and not even the salvation of over a dozen programs and initiatives frmo the previous liberal government from the Conservative chopping block.
Everything from literacy programs to medical marijuana research are being slashed as part of the Conservative government’s plans to cut $1 billion in spending over the next two years. Full list is below.
A department significantly hit was Canadian Heritage. The department’s Status of Women Canada, an agency which promotes gender equality, stands to lose $5 million from its annual $23 million budget.
Some pro-Conservative groups, such as REAL Women Canada, mounted a campaign over the summer to scrap the agency created under the Pierre Trudeau government.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty nor Treasury Board President John Baird are making apologies, saying the cuts reflect the priorities of “working families.”
Baird said “priority areas” such as health care, cancer control strategy, safer streets and greater tax cuts for senior citizens, for instance, will all benefit from the cuts.
The Tories are also eliminating the $78-million Goods and Services Tax rebate program, which was intended to help foreign visitors to Canada by allowing them to recoup the GST they pay while in the country. Liberal finance critic John McCallum said the move will hurt tourism.
But Flaherty said the program is another example of an “ineffective” initiative that wasn’t doing the job it was designed for.
Ottawa’s debt will stand at $481.5 billion after the payment is made; eight years ago the debt stood at $562 billion.
But the bad news, he added, is that the $13.2 billion surplus is further proof that Canadians are being overtaxed by the federal government.
Here are some of the programs and initiatives being cut or reduced to help the government save $1 billion over the next two years — part of a $2-billion savings plan — and the amount of savings for each:
Some of the programs and initiatives being eliminated or reduced to help Harper’s government save $1 billion over the next two years — and the amount of savings for each:
* $78.8 million: Elimination of program that gave GST rebates to tourists
* $50 million: Elimination of unused funding for Northwest Territories devolution
* $46.8 million: Smaller cabinet announced in February
* $45 million: “Efficiencies” in Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
* $15 million: Elimination of residual funding for softwood-lumber trade litigation
* $13.9 million: Cancellation of National Defence High-Frequency Surface Wave Radar Project
* $11.7 million: Removal of unused funds for mountain pine beetle initiative
* $6.5 million: Elimination of funding for the Centre for Research and Information on Canada
* $6 million: Operational efficiencies at the Canada Firearms Centre
* $5.6 million: Elimination of Court Challenges Program
* $5 million: Administrative reductions to Status of Women Canada
* $4.6 million: Cuts to museum assistance
* $4.6 million: Elimination of the RCMP drug-impaired-driving program’s training budget
* $4.25 million: Consolidation of foreign missions
* $4.2 million: Cuts to Law Commission of Canada
* $4 million: End to medical-marijuana science funding
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business applauded the federal government’s $13.2 billion dollar debt reduction announcement. “Small- and medium-sized businesses understand the importance of reducing debt to reinvest in other areas,” said Mr.Whyte highlighting that debt reduction has consistently been a top five priority for small- and medium sized business members. “The fact that it is $10 billion more than the government’s budget projection is surprising good news,” said Garth Whyte, executive vice-president of the Canadian Federation of Independent business.
A very recent mandate survey of the CFIB’s 105,000 members showed over 90 per cent of the 12,162 respondents said that unanticipated federal government surpluses should be used to reduce debt, because they felt it would increase the government’s financial accountability and credibility as well as reduce interest on debt and free up resources for other priority areas.