The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has released its 20th Alternative Federal Budget (AFB) which would strengthen the economy, create jobs, shrink the income gap and reduce carbon emissions.
Alternative Federal Budget 2015: Delivering the Good clearly shows that we can afford to make choices and ensure that every community has safe drinking water, affordable housing and effective infrastructure.
Under the AFB:
- The poverty rate for seniors would drop by 43% and child poverty would be reduced by 25%.
- The bottom 70% of Canadian families would see a net benefit from the AFB’s program spending, tax and transfer measures.
- Canada’s personal and corporate tax system would be reformed to restore fairness and progressivity.
- 300,000 jobs a year would be created or sustained, bringing Canada’s employment rate back to its pre-recession level.
- Cuts to public services would be discontinued, reviewed and reversed; and public services would be strengthened, including restoring public service staff levels, in order to rise to the challenge of growing inequality, joblessness and climate change.
- Funding and investments to First Nations programs would be increased or sustained in order to address safe drinking water, education, housing and other issues among First Nations.
- Unsustainable oil sands development would be offset with carbon tax while diversifying the Canadian economy.
- Affordable childcare for working parents would be instituted.
- Small federal deficits would be created as a necessary means for achieving sustained economic growth, particularly next year, without affecting the federal debt-to-GDP ratio.
The AFB also demonstrates that the federal government’s on-going obsession with austerity and balancing the budget comes at the cost of higher household debt, fewer public services and weakened job growth.
The expected surpluses that the federal government boasts about in future budgets are not the product of any special economic prowess but were created by cuts to public services. Some of the direct effects of those cuts include a significant increase in Canadians unable to receive help by phone with employment insurance, closures of Veterans Affairs offices and fewer food inspectors working for the Canada Food Inspection Agency.