Upcoming federal budget unlikely to include new stimulus spending
The Conservative government says new stimulus spending ventures are not likely to be included in a federal budget expected to be delivered next month.
Statistics Canada released a report Friday signalling economic weakness at the end of 2012 and the beginning of January. Last month, the Bank of Canada trimmed its expectations for economic growth in 2013.
“We intend to have no new taxes on Canadians,” Shelly Glover, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of finance, said on CTV’s Question Period on Sunday. “We’re not going to venture into risky new spending schemes, and we’re definitely not going to be overtaxing our businesses who are job creators.”
Glover echoed comments by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, who has been saying since November that there will be no “risky new spending” in the 2013 budget.
The Conservatives will deliver on their promise to eliminate the deficit before the next election in 2015, Glover told CTV’s Kevin Newman.
“We’re on track here to balance the budget,” Glover said. “That’s going to improve our economic situation.”
NDP finance critic Peggy Nash said the federal government’s “steady as she goes” position will only slow the economy even further.
Government austerity programs will only become obstacles to a stronger and continuing recovery, said Nash. She pointed to “major” infrastructure deficits in every chamber of commerce and city across the country, adding that municipalities are urging the federal government to take leadership.
“I live in the GTA where the biggest issue for people is commute time and gridlock,” Nash said. “But we do not see leadership on the part of the federal government.”
John McCallum, Liberal Critic for Infrastructure, Cities and Communities, said Canada’s “anemic” economy means that too much austerity in a slowing economy is self-defeating. McCallum said given the shrinking housing market, the “virtually” zero inflation rate and cross-country low retail sales figures from December, “now is not the time for further massive spending cuts and reductions in program by the federal government.”