By Aaron Wherry - Monday, May 14, 2012 - 0 Comments
Courtesy of YouTube, a selection of budget bill speeches from Conservative MPs.
By John Geddes - Saturday, March 6, 2010 at 11:57 AM - 23 Comments
There’s something missing from the flood of reaction over the past few days to the federal Speech from the Throne and 2010 budget. Two decisions that should be connected, and contrasted, haven’t been. A lesson about how well the Conservative government understands Canadians has been missed.
The throne speech was shot through with pride and patriotism drawing on two recent events: the Haitian earthquake and the Vancouver Olympics. The games were said to show that sometimes “festive hearts and the sharing of a common humanity are our greatest hope.” Our response to Haiti’s need was invoked to demonstrate that we “never shrink from lending a helping hand to the most disadvantaged.”
By John Geddes - Thursday, March 4, 2010 at 6:19 PM - 1 Comment
From interest groups at various points on the political spectrum:
On freezing of foreign aid spending at $5 billion a year:
“Canada’s performance is nothing short of an international embarrassment,” said Gerry Barr, president of the Canadian Council for International Cooperation. “To announce a freeze to aid spending as Canada is about to host the G8 and G20 meetings shows a lack of leadership and is unconscionable.”
On the plan to shrink the deficit to $1.8 billion in 2014-15:
“By putting off balancing the books for at least five years, the federal government is sacrificing Canadian competitiveness,” said Niels Veldhuis, a Fraser Institute senior economist. “With revenues expected to rebound this coming year, the government could have balanced the budget within two years.”
On turning off the stimulus spending tap after 2010-11:
“All signals are that we are not yet out of the wood and cutting back on government spending will only add to the problem,” said Ken Georgetti, president of the Canadian Labour Congress. “Imagine where we would be today if we had done nothing, as this government was proposing just 16 months ago.”
On pressing ahead with corporate tax cuts even while running big deficits:
“These tax changes, combined with responsible fiscal policies and unwavering support for open markets and trade liberalization, send an important signal to the rest of the world,” said John Manley, president and CEO of the Canadian council of Chief Executives.
By Philippe Gohier - Thursday, March 4, 2010 at 5:25 PM - 6 Comments
Nuclear industry gets big boost
The single-largest item in the budget envelope dedicated to green initiatives is earmarked for Atomic Energy of Canada Limited. The government will provide the crown corporation with $300 million in cash this year to cover commercial losses, the development of advanced CANDU reactors, and operations and upgrades at the Chalk River facility, which produces medical isotopes.
In all, spending on nuclear industry-related projects takes up over 70 per cent of the total amount dedicated to environmental initiatives. Other projects have comparatively meager allowances. They include $100 million over four years for the development of clean energy technologies in the forestry sector and $8 million per year to clean up the most degraded areas of the Great Lakes. The government also plans to spend $11.4 million over two years on meteorological and navigational systems in the Arctic, and another $8 million over two years has been earmarked to pay for community-based environmental monitoring in the North.
Politicians and economists like to link green initiatives with the ability to create and implement innovative technologies. Wednesday’s Throne Speech specifically promised to bolster science and technology spending in order “fuel the ingenuity of Canada’s best and brightest and bring innovative products to market.”
But Canadian adoption of new technologies has long lagged that of its international competitors and has been a drag on Canadian firms’ productivity. As a result, Thursday’s budget promises a wholesale re-evaluation of the federal government’s spending on research and development. According to budget documents, “this review will inform future decisions regarding federal support for R&D.”
In the meantime, however, the government is bolstering the budgets of several research and development agencies. For instance, the National Research Council’s regional innovation clusters program will be able to count on $135 million in government funding over the next two years to develop 11 “technology clusters” across all 10 provinces. Ottawa will also double the operating budget of the College and Community Innovation Program to $30 million a year and boost the budgets of the three federal research granting councils (the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada) by a combined $32 million a year.
More specific government targets for innovation funds include British Columbia’s TRIUMF laboratory for nuclear and particle physics research, who will see an extra $51 million in funding over two years, and Genome Canada, which will be the beneficiary of a one-time payment this year worth $75 million.