OTTAWA — The federal government will have an estimated $45 billion in surplus over the next three years – money that could significantly reduce poverty and inequalities in Canada and lay to rest overheated squabbles over cash transfers to the provinces, says the 2005 Alternative Federal Budget (AFB).
This year’s AFB, released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, continues to do what it does best – accurately forecasting upcoming surpluses. It also shows how the federal government holds the fiscal capacity to increase the Canada Social Transfer (CST) by $13 billion over the next three years.
“It’s time to address crumbling federal-provincial-territorial relations and long-neglected social programs,” says Ellen Russell, senior economist with the CCPA.
“Investing in the nation’s social infrastructure is long overdue. After sitting on eight consecutive years of surplus budgets, with another $45 billion coming down the pike, any other action by this government would be inexcusable.”
In order to begin the critical process of rebuilding the federation and repairing fragile federal-provincial relations, the AFB would:
- assure adequate funding for the Canada Social Transfer (CST) by increasing funding for the transfer by more than $13 billion over the next 3 years;
- build in accountability and transparency by dividing the social transfer into separate Social Transfer and Post-Secondary Education funds and having a separate envelope for each social item within the CST; and
- attack poverty in Canada by increasing the Canada Child Tax Benefit, the GST credit, creating a national child care program, enhancing the EI program, creating affordable housing, increasing OAS and GIS benefits and providing significant funds to address the needs of Aboriginal communities.
“The AFB achieves all this while meeting the government’s Debt/GDP targets, without increasing overall revenues, and by providing a significant boost to the economy,” concludes Russell.
Alternative Federal Budget 2005: It’s Time is available from the CCPA web site at http://www.policyalternatives.ca. The AFB, coordinated by the CCPA, incorporates the priorities of a wide range of prominent organizations representing millions of Canadians.
For more information contact: Kerri-Anne Finn, CCPA Communications Officer, at 613-563-1341 x306.