Four questions raised by budget 2014

Will the government really fix the Canada-U.S. price gap? And what about those new jets?

Samuel King Jr./U.S. Air Force/AP

Samuel King Jr./U.S. Air Force/AP

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s 2014 budget raises as many questions as it answers. Here are just four being asked by economists, industry experts and political operatives:

1. The budget promises to “introduce legislation to address the price gap between identical goods sold in Canada and the United States.” Government officials say that means giving new powers to the Competition Bureau, which investigates anti-competitive behavior like price-fixing. But is it a foregone conclusion that the bureau will discover wrongdoing by companies is behind prices being higher in Canada than in the U.S.?

2. The budget takes $3.1 billion in spending on new military equipment that was planned for 2014-2017 and pushes it off into the future—until sometime after 2019. It’s no secret that the government’s big defence procurements have been plagued with delays and setbacks. But is there any guarantee that major capital projects that can’t be delivered as planned now will prove more manageable much later, or does this put some buys in jeopardy of being abandoned?

3. The budget promises a range of anti-money laundering measures in some of the economy’s shadowy corners—from the rise of “virtual currencies,” such as Bitcoin, to online casinos. It also announces that the government is “working to strengthen the regulatory regime for over-the-counter derivatives and financial benchmarks,” and to regulate various electronic payment methods. Does all this attention to some fast-growing, little-understood parts of the financial system amount to significant, but so far largely unnoticed, policy thrust?

4. The budget promises the government will keep on selling off federal assets that “have the potential to generate more wealth and jobs for Canadians if they were owned by the private sector.” It forecasts reaping $500 million in 2014-15 from these sales, and $1.5 billion in 2015-16. In fact, the budget declares that these estimates are “conservative and do no reflect the full potential return from these sales.” But what exactly does the government anticipate selling off?




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Four questions raised by budget 2014

  1. Question 5. Will we have any more luck determining actual spending against this budget than we’ve had in the last 2+ years?

  2. Question X – how many $hundreds of $billions of precious taxpayers money has this government saved Canadians by opting out of the Great Greenie Glowball Warming Kyoto Scam?

    Bonus question – which environmental NGO is the most corrupt, lies the most, exaggerates the most, fear mongers the most, invents the most hyperbolic enviro scams, schemes and grifts . . . Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund or the David Suzuki Foundation?

    • None of the above.

      More like every right-wing “think tank” and the Conservative government, has taken fools that will without question or thoughtful analysis believe in their version of the “facts”. “Facts” based on ideology and not science.

      Bonus test. If you don’t believe that pollution affects our environment, lock yourself in the garage and run you car. Get back to me tomorrow with your results.

      • Great analogy on the pollution!

      • running your car is carbon MONoxide….not carbon DIoxide.
        First one will kill you….second one, makes plants grow.
        Get back to me when you learn something about it.

      • If you don’t believe that pollution affects our environment

        Ya, that’s some real detailed “science” and “facts” you got there. What a moronic analogy.

      • If you don’t like the air that you’re breathing, why don’t you just stop breathing?

      • Right, typhoons are caused by carbon dioxide. Typhoons never happened until humans started releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

    • It’s probably cost us billions not being in Kyoto, or, at least, not even trying to be. For example, if we had an emissions reduction program in place, the Keystone pipeline probably would have been approved four years ago. That alone would probably have been worth the price of having an emissions reduction program.

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