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‘The fact is no one in Parliament can tell Canadians what the government is planning to spend’

The budget process is a mess


 

Scott Clark and Peter DeVries explain all of the ways the federal budgetary process fails.

The two budget Bills associated with the 2012 budget were, to put it mildly, a disgrace and an insult to Parliament and to Canadians. The use of Budget Omnibus Bills has grown to the point that they seriously undermine the integrity and credibility of the budget process and the authority of Parliament. Little information is now provided in the Budget, so it has become impossible in reading the budget documents to fully understand what the government is actually proposing to do. There is a clear lack of transparency and accountability.

There is an urgent need to restore the role of Parliament and its committees in assessing, reviewing, and approving proposed legislation. Without sufficient information and clear intention of the proposed initiatives, Parliament and its Committees cannot properly assess the budget. Parliamentary debate is stifled, public involvement ignored and the implementation of good public policy prevented. 


See previously: Do you know how your government is spending your money?


 

‘The fact is no one in Parliament can tell Canadians what the government is planning to spend’

  1. The Conservative’s budgetary playbook subscribes to that time honored old motto: A penny wise: A pound foolish.

  2. Tell me again where, when and how did Conservatives ever earn a reputation for fiscal responsibility in this country? You know the one; the editorial boards all point to it at election time like it’s a reality we should base decisions on. I personally just cannot see where it comes from.

    This current government is openly hostile to accepting the responsibilities associated with taxing and spending and is implementing secretive cuts to save us from the fiscal mess they created.

    Under the last federal Conservatives, Mulroney’s P.C.’s. the deficit ballooned, taxes on individuals increased (replacing the MST with PST didn’t reduce sticker prices at all) millions were wasted on fake scientific research tax credits and, let’s face it, we overpaid for procurement because of corruption.

    We can’t point to the P. Conservatives in Ontario; they basically disabled the government’s ability to deliver services and ran up the bill anyway.

    Saskatchewan? Devine’s government sold off assets, cut services, raised taxes and ran up a big deficit before making off with the office furniture. Brad Wall seems to be of a different stripe, but it’s early days.

    Alberta? They kept taxes low by spending all their oil revenues and as soon as there is a minor contraction they run up a big deficit. The oil money and the absence of a robust Opposition has also papered over a lot of suspect spending decisions over the years.

    In B.C. the anti-NDP coalition that pretends to be fiscally responsible seesaws between wacky and wicked and never produces on their supposed reputation for fiscal acuity.

    Is there some hallowed history of Conservative fiscal success in the Atlantic Provinces? We don’t mean Gary Filmon in Manitoba do we? All the opponents of Rae days would have to acknowledge Filmon Fridays along with cuts to healthcare and increases in users fees if we bring that up.

    In history? Something I don’t know about Arthur Meighen or Robert Borden maybe?

    Shouldn’t reputation be based at least partly on recent results?

    • If our elections were voted on by machines, you’d be correct.

      Unfortunately, they’re voted on by people. And most people simply don’t understand the difference between fiscal responsibility and “spending as little as possible”

      Since the conservatives continually scream how we have to cut back spending, they’re thought of as fiscally responsible.

      The other theory I’ve seen, though I don’t know if there’s anything more than anecdotal data to back it up is that when we have conservative governments, media does more reporting on various business successes. This isn’t because they’re more common, but rather because they happen so infrequently that they become news.

      Conversely, when progressive government are in power, reporting of people having trouble increases.. again, not because it’s more common, but because it’s become news.

      • Unfortunately, they’re voted on by people. And most people simply don’t understand the difference between fiscal responsibility and “spending as little as possible”

        Since the conservatives continually scream how we have to cut back spending, they’re thought of as fiscally responsible.

        Sure, but you’d think that at some point people would notice that the conservatives who are always screaming about how we have to cut back spending are simultaneously INCREASING SPENDING.

        What’s really rich is when the conservatives use someone like Trudeau as some sort of “socialist” bogey man. It’s sad, but they do it because they know that most Canadians don’t realize that if you adjust for inflation and population, Pierre Trudeau spent significantly less on social programs, and significantly more on national defence, than today’s Harper government does.

        • Why would they notice such? They don’t look at budgets. They watch the news. The news doesn’t report on such things because A) it’s boring, and B) risks getting them accused of being biased.

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