The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives 20th annual Alternative Federal Budget sees need for stimulus spending to boost economic growth.
Ottawa (20 March 2015) — The 2015 Alternative Federal Budget (AFB), released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), demonstrates that the federal government’s continued obsession with austerity and balancing the budget comes at the cost of higher household debt, fewer services, and weakened job growth.
The AFB, now in its 20th year, brings together leading Canadian economists and sectoral experts to produce a progressive economic plan with the means to pay for it. The Alternative Federal Budget would lift 893,000 Canadians out of poverty, reduce income inequality, boost economic growth, and create or sustain 300,000 jobs a year, bringing Canada’s employment rate back to its pre-recession level.
Drop in oil prices has seriously undermined federal government's economic plan
“The drop in oil prices has now eliminated the federal government’s surplus and contingency fund for next year,” says CCPA Senior Economist David Macdonald. “Governments should be helping citizens during these uncertain times by pushing against weak growth, not cutting access to services.”
Alternative Federal Budget employs a "Fairness Test" for budget decisions
No federal or provincial government has ever measured the distributional impact of its fiscal and tax policies. This year, the Alternative Federal Budget does precisely that—demonstrating the aggregate impact of its proposed taxation, transfers and program spending changes.
“The Alternative Federal Budget demonstrates that we can afford to make different choices,” says CCPA Senior Researcher Kate McInturff. “The AFB would ensure that every community has safe drinking water, affordable housing, and effective infrastructure. Our budget would provide affordable childcare for working parents, and access to necessary prescription drugs and dental care for those who can’t afford it.”
Under the AFB
- The poverty rate for seniors would drop by 43% and child poverty would be reduced by 25%.
- The bottom 70% of Canadian families would see a net benefit from the AFB’s program spending, tax and transfer measures.
- Canada’s personal and corporate tax system would be reformed to restore fairness and progressivity.
- Small federal deficits would be created as a necessary means for achieving sustained economic growth, particularly next year, without affecting the federal debt-to-GDP ratio.
Need to move away from focus on oil
“The collapse of oil prices has exposed the folly of economic policy built on a bitumen boom doomed to eventually go bust,” says Macdonald. “We outline a plan to offset unsustainable oil sands development with a carbon tax while diversifying the Canadian economy.”
“The AFB puts forward a progressive public policy agenda consistent with the values of millions of Canadians,” says Bruce Campbell, CCPA Executive Director. “In the lead-up to the federal election it provides a benchmark for what is possible.”
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