The CCPA has been coordinating the Alternative Federal Budget (AFB) since 1994 with the participation and support of researchers, activists and leadership from a broad spectrum of civil society organizations representing millions of Canadians.
From its beginnings, the fundamental premise of the AFB is that budgets are about choices.
The AFB starts from a set of social justice values—human dignity and freedom, fairness, equality, environmental sustainability, and the public good. AFB participants collectively develop a set of taxation and spending measures that reflect these values, and create a sophisticated and workable budgetary framework within which they are met. This framework acknowledges political and economic realities but nevertheless produces a dramatically different result than the federal government's budget.
The AFB is a "what if" exercise—what a government could do if it were truly committed to an economic, social, and environmental agenda that reflects the values of the large majority of Canadians—as opposed to the interests of a privileged minority. It demonstrates in a concrete and compelling way that another world really is possible. The AFB is an exercise in economic literacy—to demythologize budget making. It is an exercise in public accountability. And finally, it is a vehicle for building policy concensus amongst progressive civil society organizations and providing the policy fuel for popular mobilization.