Which right wing Canadian party would you rather vote for?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Harper's 2007 Budget

Stephen Harper's GST cuts are supposed to be combined with higher taxes on corporations.

The idea is to give more money to consumers so they can spend more, and tax the corporations a higher rate for their increased revenues. That way Canadians have more money and the economy is boosted, corporations see a rise in profits and Canada maintains tax revenues by simply changing the source of the revenues.

Except Harper hasn't increased corporate taxes. Instead in the 2006 budget Harper cut income taxes for Quebec (bribe for the PQ) and cut income taxes in Alberta (bribes for the Alberta oil industry where Harper enjoys a 76% approval rating). He raised incomes taxes in the rest of Canada and lowered them in Alberta and Quebec.

Talk about playing favourites.

And now in the 2007 budget (which passed thanks to help from the PQ) Harper has stolen billions of Atlantic Accord money from the Atlantic Provinces, for which the federal government is going to be sued for breaking contracts. But what else does the 2007 budget do?

  1. There was a very non-controversial 50% increase to capital gains exemptions on income taxes.
  2. $409,000 to help support and promote Canadian horses for sale overseas. The funding will be matched by equine industry execs dollar for dollar to boost and support Canada's equine industry.
  3. The budgets ignores the Atlantic Accord in lieu of a fatter equalization payment. The Atlantic Accord give the provinces full control over their resource revenues, but Harper is breaking that contract and effectively stealing money from the Atlantic provinces with a measly increase to the equalization payment (which is supposed to be there anyway).
  4. The budget also steals resource revenues from Saskatchewan's tiny oil/gas industry.
  5. $4.5 billion to clean our air and water, reduce greenhouse gases, combat climate change, as well as protect our natural environment.
  6. A a new Working Income Tax Benefit of up to $500 for individuals and $1,000 for families. This will reward and strengthen incentives to work for an estimated 1.2 million low-income Canadians, helping them over the "welfare wall."
  7. $45 million over three years to contribute to the cost of improving physical accessibility for persons with disabilities.
  8. $6 million per year to combat sexual exploitation and trafficking.
  9. $10 million per year to combat elder abuse and fraud.
  10. $10 million per year to Status of Women Canada towards real action in key areas such as combatting violence against women and girls.
  11. $400 million for Canada Health Infoway to support early movement towards patient wait times guarantees.
  12. $300 million for a vaccine program to protect women and girls against cancer of the cervix.
  13. Etc, ect. See more at www.budget.gc.ca/2007/overview/briefe.html
The new budget is not controversial for the most part. The biggest concern is Harper's theft of Atlantic Accord money in exchange for equalization payments.

Note: H
arper promised during the last election campaign not to clawback equalization payments because of oil dollars. He does manage to keep this promise, but at the expense of stealing money from the Atlantic Accord.

The budget passed with 157 votes in favour and 103 against. 48 MPs didn't even bother to show up.

There was never any doubt that the Conservative minority government would survive the final budget vote. The Bloc Québécois was going to see to that so many MPs didn't even bother to show up.

This budget still needs to be approved by the Liberal senate, which could send it back for revisions, and might insist that the Atlantic Accord be upheld (negating the need for the Atlantic provinces to take Harper to court).

If it is approved and the Atlantic provinces take Harper to court we might see a tipping point in Harper's approval rating in Atlantic Canada, which has dropped 10 percentage points.