Mulcair doesn’t like the direction Flaherty’s budget austeres Canada

by John Geddes

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair apparently couldn’t think of a verb for the sort of tight-spending policy he perceived in the 2013 federal budget, so he redeployed an adjective, saying, “You cannot austere your way out of a crisis.”

Beyond that novel phrasing, Mulcair’s reaction to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s latest fiscal plan combined criticism of the Tories for being unreliable economic forecasters and some pointed objections to particular budget moves.

On Flaherty’s pledge to balance the books by 2015, the NDP leader noted that the budget assumes 2.5 per cent growth in gross domestic product next year, up from just 1.6 per cent this year, which is, in turn, well below the 2.4 per cent GDP growth projected in last year’s budget.

“His predictions are constantly wrong,” Mulcair said, adding, “”They are making a very high prediction for [GDP growth] next year to come up with their under $20 billion deficit. That will, of course, also be proven to be wrong.”

On one of Flaherty’s main new programs—a $300-million-a-year federal pool for job-training grants, which would have to be matched by provincial and employer contributions—Mulcair accused him of playing “a shell game” by funding the grant program with money that used to be transferred to provinces with fewer strings attached.

He found a few things to like. For instance, he praised the decision to give the regional development agency for Northern Ontario, known as FedNor, more autonomy as a stand-alone agency.

On his main point—the fact that the budget is misguided in trying to “austere” Canada to prosperity—Mulcair was evasive on how long a presumably more free-spending NDP budget would keep the federal books in the read. Asked how long he would run a deficit if he were prime minister, Mulcair said only, ”We’re going to be responsible public administrators.”

 




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Mulcair doesn’t like the direction Flaherty’s budget austeres Canada

  1. The budget deficit is still a couple of percent of GDP. No transfers to provinces or individuals are being cut. Spending on infrastructure is being maintained at slightly below economic crisis levels. A German-like training model introduced by Social Democrats to reduced youth unemployment is being copied. No taxes are being raised. That is not austerity.

    But Mulcair’s definition of austerity, Obama is being more austere Harper.

    • The piddly $300M Harper is spending on worker training is nothing compared to the $44.4B/yr he wasted on tax cuts. Harper is also cutting the 10-year Canada Health Transfer (the previous Liberal government established) in half. That is the largest cut to transfers the provinces ever faced.

      • No he isn’t. The health transfer stays at 6% to 2016, and then grows at the greater of nominal GDP or 3% thereafter.

        In a normal economy, nominal GDP is real GDP plus inflation, which is typically 3% real GDP growth plus 2% inflation, or 5% nominal GDP growth.

        So if the world and Canadian economies return to normal, Harper with have altered health transfer to the province from 6% per year to 5% per year, and if there is a global economic crisis, it will be at worth 3% per year.

        • As good as that sounds (it remiains to be seen if it works well), he did it unilaterally, as he did everything in this budget, with no parliamentary oversight. I’d rather have a democracy, thanks. Why should 1 man have the power to run this country without oversight?

      • Left-wing interpretation of economics is just too funny. 6% annual growth in health transfers amounts to “cutting in half”. Reduced taxes are a “waste”. I’ll just let the absurdity of those two statements speak for themselves.

  2. The guy is a buffoon and an embarrassment to Canada. He had no business speaking ill of Canada’s oil pipelines directly to US politicians….ever hear of a unified front idot!

    • Other than your name-calling, your only criticism could as easily be directed at Harper pre-2006. Is he also an idiot?

  3. Mulcair is an arrogant ass and it shows every time he opens his mouth. He has in one year undone all the good Layton did for the party. He has installed all the good appointments to eastern NDPs and forgotten the place where the CCF got its start. Justin Trudeau must be enjoying every minute of this guys arrogance and ignorance of how our country works. Mulcair in one short year has alienated the west and may even prove to be a disaster to the NDP hopes in B.C . i hear he is one of the most arrogant bosses one could have the displeasure to work for and that does not auger good for the parties future

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