Flaherty to opposition: Send only no-cost, no tax ideas on budget


OTTAWA – Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is once again asking opposition parties for their best ideas on the upcoming federal budget, but only if they cost the government little or no money, or don’t involve raising taxes.

Flaherty’s traditional pre-budget letter to the opposition was issued Sunday, and like last year’s missive, it makes clear that only “low to no-cost ideas to grow the economy” will be considered.

The minister’s letter also welcomes any ideas to eliminate “ineffective” spending.

“I will not entertain the traditional ‘laundry list’ of new spending or subsidy programs typically sent from the opposition,” Flaherty writes.

“Additionally … I will reject any proposal to impose new taxes on Canadians as recently suggested by the opposition — from increased business taxes to taxes on carbon.”

Flaherty has made it a point of personal pride to eliminate the deficit — now at $17.9 billion annualized —in the 2015 budget cycle, a goal analysts say he will easily achieve barring an unexpected and sharp economic reversal. The latest estimate is that Ottawa will post a $3.7-billion surplus that year.

The date, an election year, has important political implications because it would allow Prime Minister Stephen Harper to campaign on some costly promises he made in 2011, to be implemented only once the books were in the black.

The Conservatives have promised to establish partial income splitting for couples with dependent children, double the amount Canadians can sock away in tax-free savings accounts to more than $10,000 a year, establish an adult fitness tax credit and double the child tax credit.

All those measures would cost the treasury about $3 billion annually, but Flaherty suggested recently some could be phased in.

The Parliamentary Budget Office concluded in a recent report that part of the government’s success in lowering the deficit since the recession has been achieved through strict cost-cutting, including spending about $10 billion less than budgeted for in each of the past three years.

The 2014-15 budget, likely to be introduced in March, is critical to the government’s plans because Ottawa has pencilled in a big drop in the deficit to $6.6 billion next year, down from the current $17.9 billion.

Flaherty says in the letter he believes the country’s long-term economic prosperity depends on sticking to the plan, noting that Canada has the best fiscal position in the Group of Seven big industrial nations.

With global risks still high, it is important to remain fiscally prudent, he says.

“We cannot be complacent,” Flaherty warns. “Significant economic challenges from beyond our borders, especially from Europe and the United States, will continue to negatively impact Canada.”

“As such, I welcome low to no-cost ideas to grow the economy, as well as suggestions to eliminate ineffective spending.”

The minister is also expected to meet with the opposition finance critics, but has not yet set a date.


Flaherty to opposition: Send only no-cost, no tax ideas on budget

  1. Congratulations to Minister Flaherty for getting some public notice, even though it’s only a lame dog appeal for ideas he won’t consider. He’s managed to push the Senate scandal, Rob Ford, and even the Charbonneau commission out of the news.

    And now back to reality….

    • “I am not a crook”

  2. In short, “Don’t bother me unless you suggest ways to sneak in and odscure cuts to the environment protection acts, fast track pipe line approvals, attack online civil rights, or increase mandatory sentencing for minor infractions.”

  3. Why certainly….cancel the F-35 and put the Senate on permanent lay-off.

    • Are the F35s still being purchased?

      • Yup, seem to be. No official cancellation….just currently outa the headlines.

    • …and the next time one of those 30 year old aircraft that have seen combat fall out of the sky and kill a pilot and heaven forbid, someone on the ground, you notify the family and tell them how sorry you are. It’s people like you that caused Canada to send soldiers to Afghanistan to fight in jeeps against rocket launchers and roadside bombs. If you want to disband the Canadian Military, then say it… Don’t eliminate them by killing them in antiquated, subpar equipment.

      • no one said dont upgrade the planes – just not to the unproven, grossly overpriced F35. If you actually knew anything about the military, you would know the F35 is an underperforming, overpriced boondoggle.

        • 29 years and going strong so don’t assume anything..
          “an underperforming, overpriced boondoggle.” sounds like a political sound bite, not an expert opinion, so when you want to label something in the same sentence you are labeling my expertise, don’t quote politicians.

          • You failed to mention 29 years in what …… and how that qualifies you as an F35 or any war plane expertise.

          • His name–tank mech.

          • Then he probably knows as much about fighter jets as anyone in the Harper government which means basically diddly!

      • Fine….disband the military.

        Fund a properly equipped Peace Force instead.

        • What is a “properly equipped peace force”??? You should know that the equipment needs are the same unless you are talking about the little white flags.

          • The needs are not the same, but they are more effective.

        • Less than 2 weeks after Remembrance Day.

          Please remember that hundreds or thousands of Canadian Military lost their lives so that you may have the freedom and peace you take for granted today. It is the same military that maintains those freedoms for you.

          A “Peace Force” is a military mission, not a replacement for the hard working Men and Women who provide much more for Canada than provide a fighting force.

          • Yada yada….you’ve used every cliche going….I spent 5 years in the air force so don’t preach

          • As far as their sacrifice goes there hasn’t been a war in the last century in which civilian deaths didn’t outnumber military deaths yet I never hear any talk of their sacrifice except when referring to their deaths as collateral damage. Get over yourself. People die in war. At least soldiers get to fight back.

          • Are you implying that Canadian soldiers kill more civilians then combatants? Or are you implying that we are the aggressors and the cause of civilian casualties, in both instances you are sadly mistaken.

          • Actually, the bulk of them lost their lives because they were forced into fighting a war. Conscription was the order of the day for almost every nation during both WWI and WWII. While this doesn’t make the sacrifice of those who died doing their duty for their country any less admirable, it does belie the argument that they were, in general, doing it to preserve our freedoms. This is especially true of those who died during WWI, which was a result more of old alliances and defense pacts cascading on top of one another than any threat to freedoms of pretty much anybody outside eastern or central Europe.

            And anybody who argues that it is a nation’s military which maintains its freedoms needs to explain places such as Andorra, Costa Rica, Liechtenstein, Iceland, and Tuvalu, among others.

      • if the planes aren’t safe to be flown, then don’t fly them. problem solved. I would have liked the military to initiate such procedures regarding the Sea Kings.

    • There are no f-35s on oder and never have been. Nothing needs to be done to “cancel” a non-order.

      • Nobody intends to get into a game of govt semantics with you so save yourself some time and find another subject.

  4. Kill the Dept. of Religious Freedom. Costing several million, It is blatant pandering to the Conservative base and it’s duties are redundant to the Ministry of External Affairs.

    • indeed. it costs roughly 1.2 gun registries per year!

  5. Does that mean 1) the Conservatives will be doing the same, or 2) that they have spent all the money already?

  6. I know, they could loose track of billions of dollars, and then with those unaccounted billions of dollars they could participate in nefarious activities under the guise of terrorism and national security. They could also spend billions on giant spying infrastructure (buildings computing and people) to illegallyspy on private Canadian citizens, and international minimng and energy corporations. They could then provide this information to Canadian business people and corporations with special ‘clearance’.

  7. Retire the “Action Plan” & “Responsible Resource Management” greenwash ads.

  8. Rob Ford’s boyfriend.

  9. I have an idea. Take the money you funnel to the oil industry and put it towards social programs, medicare, or even alternate energy. It’s revenue neutral , no new taxes. How about it Mr. Leprechaun.

    • Typical leftist racist. Irisheople consider “leprechaun” to be a perjoritive slander.

      • Nah….nothing racist about it. He’s just short and green and resembles one. He acts like one too always trying to hide his pot of gold

  10. Dear Jim

    Please cut all government advertising except for notices that are required by statute, or part of recruitment or procurement.

    Please reduce the budget for the Prime Minister’s Office to pre-2006 levels (adjusted for inflation).

    Please reduce the number of communications and media advisers in all Minster’s offices to pre-2006 levels

    Thank you

  11. Eliminate all cabinet level “Secretary” positions. Put the cost savings into Revenue Canada to specifically track down money hidden internationally.

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