We need a budget for the people

The Nova Scotia Alternative Budget 2018 provides us with a blueprint
March 19, 2018

March 19, 2018

HALIFAX—The Nova Scotia Alternative Budget 2018, released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-Nova Scotia today, is a blueprint of a budget for the people. The report lays out a sustainable fiscal framework that supports the development of inclusive and prosperous communities, where we take care of each other and our environment.

“There is an urgency for our government to use fiscal policy as a lever for a different kind of economic growth that is no longer exploitative, no longer sacrifices the environment, our natural resources or the quality of life of the many,” says Christine Saulnier, Nova Scotia Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, and co-ordinator of the Nova Scotia Alternative Budget Working Group.

She points out, “This Alternative Budget invests in the transition to a green economy with renewable energy, maximizing energy efficiency, and expanding the sectors of our economy that are already low carbon: caregiving, teaching, social work, arts and culture, while investing in protections for our water, land, and air.”

With regards to the province’s fiscal health, economist Michael Bradfield had this to say: “A budget surplus, or a zero deficit is just bookkeeping, not an accomplishment that should be applauded in and of itself. Budgets should be judged for their sustainability. Nova Scotia’s fiscal health was attained by sacrificing adequate health care, social care, education, and childhood development, allowing our public services to crumble and the gaps in our safety net to widen.”

Bradfield adds, “Given how many Nova Scotians are struggling to make ends meet and to access the public services they need, it is folly to restrain investment. This approach has resulted in very low growth, a stagnant labour market, increased inequalities, as well as demographic challenges. Our calculations show it is not necessary to sacrifice access to services today, or interventions to prevent more serious problems in the future, for a sustainable debt-to-GDP ratio.”

The Alternative Budget invests in our people to ensure that all community members have the opportunity to fully use their skills and capabilities, thereby making a down payment on their future and ours.

As Alec Strafford, Executive Director of the Nova Scotia College of Social Workers, says, “The Alternative Budget shows we have the capacity to ensure that all children are provided with access to everything they need and the care they deserve in their early years, and have access to quality, publicly-funded education as they grow, as well as being able to take advantage of opportunities to continue learning and developing as healthy adults.”

“The Alternative Budget is proof that if we address even some of the unfairness in the tax system, we can make significant investments to reduce poverty, to build a truly affordable, accessible early learning and child care system, and to provide a full range of affordable housing and supports. It is especially important that these decisions are made using an intersectional analysis to ensure programs have equitable outcomes, and to decrease (sometimes unintended) inequitable ones. Everyone wins when there is greater equality,” says Georgia Barnwell, Coordinator of Women’s Centres CONNECT!  

The Nova Scotia Alternative Budget 2018: A budget for the people, can be downloaded at: www.policyalternatives.ca

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For more information or to arrange interviews, contact CCPA-NS Director, Christine Saulnier at (902) 240-0926 (cell) or email christine@policyalternatives.ca  

The CCPA-NS is an independent, non-partisan research institute concerned with issues of social and economic justice, as well as environmental sustainability. 

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