Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Shell Game of Mr. Flaherty

As I look at this budget I see that the Conservatives do not believe in a just fair and equitable society. If you have a large enough income to put money aside for a RESP or into your RRSP you will get to save money and even get tax dollars from others who don't have children and don't have as high an income. For example a high income family with children will be able to put more than $4000 a year into a RESP and get up to $500 a year from the government plus also get $310 a year tax credit but if you are single and make $12,833 or more you get nothing.

For the environment we have up to $2000 rebate for Hybrids that get 6.5 litres to every 100 kilometre of combined highway city driving. At the same time there is also a sliding scale of taxes on inefficient fuel use vehicles. However, the $ 500 to $700 excise tax which typically applies to the cost of big luxury cars or a full-size SUV has been dropped so the penalty is not as steep as it looks. A major gap is that the Conservative budget did not provide the 1% gas tax rebate to municipalities to upgrade their public transit and infrastructure that the municipalities so need. This is a critical element to any green plan. The energy sector gets to keep its $9 billion in subsidies until 2015 while making record prices and keeping fuel prices high at the pumps.

Poor families really get nothing. This government did not address housing with a Nation Housing Plan, or reinvest in literacy training to improve the job potential of unemployed, or into a meaningful day-care plan to create spaces for low and middle class families, or reinstate the liberal plan to drop more low income earners off the tax roles.

The Conservatives totally missed the need for a national plan to address our sovereignty in the north. Military spending continues to focus on following the US wars in the middle east rather than investing in a greater northern presence with all year round ice breakers, a larger, more well equipped and well trained Ranger force in hand with icebreaker naval ships to enforce our claim to the North west Passage. Where is our homeland security to protect Canadian interests?

The free spending commitments are based on a ongoing robust economy at a time when our productivity and manufacturing sectors are being reduced, as US housing starts slide, as our dollar stays high and as our energy prices remain high. Will we have the economy to generate the cash flow they predict?

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