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CBC has pre-budget reporting on Newsworld - doesn't look good - increasing retirement age, cutting environmental protections, services to the public cut, Katimavik may be gone... and lots more to come. It may be months or years before the full scope of cuts is unravelled and their impacts known.
Liberal MP David McQuinty complaining about what's coming in the Con budget - was he equally critical of the budget his brother is responsible for in Ontario?
Background noise level going up in the House. Members gathering to hear the Cons announce austerity. Will push all parts of Canadian economy not benefiting from commodity prices in the wrong direction. When commodity prices soften, watch out.
The Minister is on his feet. In his new shoes? Talking about Economic Action Plan 2012. " we have a rare opportunity to position ourselves for long term economic growth " Is this 1945, and is he reading the White Paper?
Ominous tweet just now...where do they find all the willing thugs?
Something I don't recall in past budgets: Finance officials asking to listen in on reporters' interviews. #bdgt12 [via Twitter]
On CBC Newsworld now: Commons security escorting student demonstrators out of the House of Commons. Mulcair just called the budget "a betrayal".
They shut down the feed to silence the protest?
There are substantial cuts, even more substantial spending. And substantial downloading to the provinces - prisons, for example.
Aboriginal Education over three years gets half of what was requested and is needed. I bet Shawn Atleo is pissed off today. That summit with the Prime Minister was a farce, apparently.
19,200 public sector jobs cut over the next three years - some by attrition.
It's official - Katimavik is cut. Fuck.
Not on my satellite. Terry Mileski's video of Flaherty presenting the budget highlights went down, but CBC showed the demonstration feed just for two minutes, though - because Commons security was getting in the way of the cameras. Brave students!!!
ETA: Occupy Parliament!
ETA: CBC having a lot of technical problems today.
Stop the Conservative attack on Seniors!
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced that his Conservative Government will raise the age of eligibility for Old Age Security (OAS) from 65 to 67 years old.This decision has enraged Canadians of all ages because, as it stands right now, OAS is a modest but essential benefit that provides retirees with roughly $508.35 per month, or $6100.20 per year.
The Conservatives claim that as the “Baby Boom” generation ages, OAS will become too expensive. However, Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page has stated that the “Boomers” will not break the bank. He says “there is no fiscal reason to raise OAS.”....
Environmental assessment regulations chopped so projects can go ahead faster. Shale gas extraction (fracking) regulations trimmed to encourage greater extraction. This is becoming a resource economy budget. Gov't wants to use resources to pay all the bills and get out of deficit.
Mulcair: Harper's words "worthless".
More ominous news: CFIA to stop policing nutrition claims on food labels; lobbies to be monitored for political commentary by Revenue Canada (but fundamantalist churches and think tanks will probably be safe).
The only thing in it I can get enthusiastic about is ditching the penny. Oh, wait, I found another. A 5% cut to defence.
I was watching the CTV. Don Martin refused to call Mulcaire the Leader of the Opposition. CBC did the same thing on the 5PM EST national news. Not only that, they made sure to introduce Rae and then reprise that he had just spoken. More of the same, these guys are going to do what ever they can not to call us the Opposition. What a bunch of jerks!
[url=http://www.progressive-economics.ca/2012/03/29/a-budget-that-screws-the-... budget that screws the planet for short-term profits[/url]
[quote]This is a colonial vision of the economy as a quarry for foreign interests. Instead of ensuring development of resources in a manner consistent with real long-term needs like energy security, the federal government is to open to any foreign investor who wants our resources, and Canadians will politely have to clean up the mess afterwards. [...]
The term “climate” appears four times in the budget. Twice there is a passing reference to climate change, but really an afterthought. The other two times are in reference to investment climate. [/quote]
Evan Solomon and Peter Mnsbridge have been calling Mulcair his proper title all afternoon - I know, I'm watching.
Elizabeth May: The government in this budget is now assuming the costs for seismic testing for all the oil companies in exploration. Up to now it's been the financial responsibility of the oil companies. So Taxpayers are now paying for their exploration costs.
Jim Flaherty: "we are expecting $500billion in new investment by the oil companies, and we want this to happen as fast as possible".***
***in other words, before the Cons get booted out in 2015.
(a CBC pundit just said the Cons are doing all this because they have a majority and are flexing their muscles)
Boom Boom how dare you not let me go on and rant without reason. You adult you! You make so mad! LOL!!!!!
That David Herle is an arrogant a--hole. He also is unbelievably petty.
Habitat protection (ie fisheries) cut or streamlined - not sure which.
The media is reporting (but not commenting at all about this) that the retirement age for federal public service workers hired after 2012 (I think) will rise from 60 to 65. I'm trying to figure out what that means.
Right now, under their pension plan, you can receive an unreduced pension (i.e. no penalty, but obviously depending on how many years of service and how much you earned in your best 5 years) if:
1. You are at least 55 years of age and have 30 years of service; OR
2. You are 60 years of age and have at least 2 years of service.
Does this mean they are moving the #2 age from 60 to 65, and leaving #1 alone? If yes, then it's not as drastic a change as it seems, because #2 is a rare provision in the private sector. #1 is much more common.
Of course, the big cut will be the increased contributions by workers, but I haven't seen those details yet.
If anyone understands this better, or if I've got it wrong, please weigh in. I'm really trying to figure out not only how this budget affects federal employees, but how and whether those attacks can be picked up as a model by other employers.
I think that Harper and his gang is softening people up for even more extreme cuts in years to come. Does anyone know who Ian Sprott is by the way?
Another item, they are increasing the amount of duty free item dollars people can spend in the US. I don't think that is such a good idea. SHouldn't we be trying to figure out how to get people to stay and buy at home? And not to mention anything about cancellation of the home eco retro fit program cut.
Really, any time you increase the time until someone can collect a pension, you are in effect taxing them.
Massive student demonstrations against tuition fee increases in Quebec, Ontario rallies planned to protest their budget - can major demonstrations against this piece of shit budget be far behind?
I get the feeling 2012 could be a big year for demos. And the Occupy movement might start up again.
May be that a General Strike across the country will be the only way to shake up the neocons and neoliberals.
Majority Tories Budgeting Like MinoriTories Den Tandt
[quote] A majority of Conservative MPs had been pushing for a radical overhaul of government operations and substantial reductions in spending that would have allowed them to campaign on a balanced budget in 2015. Clearly, with the Prime Minister's Office on the defensive politically after two months of missteps and scandal, the hawks were overruled.[/quote]
IOWs the fiscal Frankensteinian Harpers have the NDP to contend with.
I'm going to speak heresy here and say it wasn't as bad as I was expecting, I mean its bad, but just normal bad for the Tories, not,OMG bad.
That worst parts are the jobs lost, cuts to EC, and the attacking enviromental protection. I think the damage from this budget will be able to fix in 2015, especially the penisons and some of the dumber Military purchases the tories have put off.
I was expecting an immediate 8 billion cut from the budget.
Still plenty for the NDP to target.
[quote=Brachina]I think the damage from this budget will be able to fix in 2015, especially the penisons and some of the dumber Military purchases the tories have put off.[/quote]
And who's going to fix it? Has Mulcair promised to reverse this budget in 2015?
That's the declaration I've been waiting for. It's the only one that really represents "opposition". The Harperites have no problem promising to do bad things (cancel Kyoto, build prisons, buy jets, attach the youth, etc.), but everyone else seems to have trouble standing up and saying:
"Don't worry too much about 2024 or 2029 or any of the rest of this stuff. We'll be the government in 2015, and all these attacks against working people, seniors, youth, the environment, indigenous people - it'll be gone. We'll not only reverse it, we'll boldly take Canada in the opposite direction and build a better future than this darkness which looms today."
Let me know when someone says that. Anyone.
The number of environmentally destructive projects that will get quickly greenlighted and underway thanks to this budget is huge. These projects will be mostly funded by foreign investment who have no interest in creating any sustainable infrastructure or permanent jobs. On top of that, the CRA has been given the mandate to go on a witch hunt with respect to ENGOs, the frontline non-profits who act as witnesses on our behalves when it comes to environmental degradation posed by these project.
And cuts to fisheries protection programs and food inspection programs... are these not matters of serious concern?
Then there is Harper's penchent of putting the boot to workers by denying them retirement security and making them pay 10% more for CPP off their pay cheques.
Finally, we will eventually have to attend bake sales to keep our public broadcaster afloat.
Received this evening from Friends of Canadian Broadcasting:
[url=http://www.friends.ca/files/html/12mar29-budget.html]CBC singled out for vindictive cuts[/url]
[quote]"We are not going to take this lying down!"[/quote]
Don't forget to add the potential equally-massive push-back to the Northern Gateway pipeline, from N. Alberta tar-sands to BC's pristine north coast... 'push-back' not only by several Northern BC native tribes, thru whose land it is scheduled to pass, but opposition to the thing is really nationwide... the new, streamlined "environmental review process" announced today (mentioned above) will definitely mean (in Ottawa's oily mind, at least) that the project's a Go!....
Also, I wasn't aware that the Occupy Movement had actually stopped - surely not in spirit....
There is lots wrong with the budget but much of the information is not in the document which was expected to be scrutinized. The more painful details will be left for Friday night press releases.
Scale of the cuts are quite deep, You have to be aware that there are large percentages of budgets that are fixed cuts so a ten percent cut can be hugely significant.
The only reason the NDP doesn't try to predict what Canada will look like in 2024 and make wild election promises as a result is that no one would take them seriously. FPTP dictates that any party with a snowball's chance has to focus on the next four-year term of government. And let's face it, our two oldest political parties in Ottawa have been lucky to keep some small percentage of those election promises past the first year or two in power.
Other than that I think it's a great idea, U.
Conservatives axe First Nations statistics Crown corporation
OTTAWA–The Conservative government has axed a First Nations-led Crown corporation created to fill the statistical “gap” that exists when it comes to getting numbers from First Nations reserves and the urban Aboriginal population.
The First Nations Statistical Institute (FNSI), which was created through legislation passed in 2005 during the Liberal government under Paul Martin, will see its $5 million budget cut in half this year and eliminated next year, according to the federal budget unveiled Thursday.
Keith Conn, the FNSI’s chief operating officer, said the agency was in the midst of 25 projects across Canada working with First Nations communities and organizations.
“Now we have to figure out what we can do for this year,” said Conn.
Conn said he found out about the cut while sitting in the budget lock-up in Ottawa Thursday. The information was buried near the back of the budget document under a section outlining total cuts to the federal Aboriginal Affairs department.
Aboriginal Affairs will see cuts of $26 million this fiscal year, $60 million the next and $165 million the year after for a total 2.7 per cent reduction of the $6.22 billion that was put on the table for review, according to the budget.....
Federal budget promises money for education, water and legislation introducing private property on reserves
OTTAWA–The federal Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development department will cut millions of dollars in spending, according to the federal budget unveiled Thursday that also committed $275 million toward improving First Nation education and $330.8 million for replacing and fixing water infrastructure on reserves.
The money for education and water, however, falls far short of the numbers recommended by two federal reports on the issues released this year. The investments will cover the gap left by funding delivered through Ottawa’s economic stimulus package which has since expired.
The federal budget, which included more First Nations specific initiatives than previous Conservative spendingÂ plans, also highlighted commitments from the federal government to pursue legislation on education and introduce private property ownership on reserves....
The education report called on Ottawa to invest immediately to close the gap between education on reserve and in provincial schools. The report found that at least 100 schools were in desperate need of renovation or replacement and failed to provide students with a safe learning environment.
The AFN estimate it would cost at least $500 million to begin closing that gap.
What about the fighter jets, do we still get the fighter jets?
[quote=Brachina]I'm going to speak heresy here and say it wasn't as bad as I was expecting, I mean its bad, but just normal bad for the Tories, not,OMG bad. That worst parts are the jobs lost, cuts to EC, and the attacking enviromental protection. I think the damage from this budget will be able to fix in 2015, especially the penisons and some of the dumber Military purchases the tories have put off. I was expecting an immediate 8 billion cut from the budget. Still plenty for the NDP to target.[/quote]
I think that was their plan, to make people expect worse and then not quite deliver. Given that the greatest issue facing Canadians is the threat of environmental catastrophe this is one of the worst budgets in Canadian history, but yes it could have been worse.
Reversing the decision on OAS should be straight forward enough. Canadians may well have moved on in 2015 though. The assumption that life expectancy will remain the same or increase is dubious in the long term, but we may be facing even more immediate concerns in 2015 (and I mean both economic and environmental).
Cons have cut the Elections Canada budget as well - probably in revenge for the bad publicity surrounding them on RoboCalls. Vengeful bastards.
Three more probably horrific budgets to come from the Cons before the 2015 election, and if the Cons manage to steal the 2015 election as well, all hope is lost.
Indigenous Nationhood: Federal Budget 2012 - The Battle Lines Have Been Drawn excerpt: I can assure you that I am not seeing monsters where non exist. This assimilation plan for Indians is well-documented in government records and has always been considered by INAC as "the final solution". The Cons are just more aggressive in speeding assimilation along. The budget document focuses on "integration" of Aboriginal peoples into Canadian society - as a labour source, as tax payers and as individual property owners. Even the constitutionally protected right of Indigenous peoples to be specifically consulted and accommodated on their Aboriginal and treaty rights is translated as consultation (no accommodation) that will be "integrated" into current regulatory processes.
But let's look at what is really happening. The Indian Act is staying in place, as confirmed at the CFNG and the current level of federal control over First Nations will not only be maintained, but will be dramatically increased with the suite of legislation it intends to impose on First Nations. This budget confirmed what we already heard in the CFNG:
(1) Non-Indians will gain interests in reserve lands in the matrimonial real property legislation;
(2) Cons will transfer all liability for water and sewer on reserve to First Nations without funding to address the increased standards;
(3) First Nation education legislation will impose increased standards and force provincial partnerships while not providing additional funds;
(4) Reserves will be opened up to privatization (ownership by individuals) to allow mass sales of reserve lands and facilitate extractive industry activities on our lands; and
(5) Accountability legislation to impose standards on First Nations leaders not imposed on Members of Parliament.
Again, I am really confused how any of this screams "reconciliation". In fact, this entire suite of legislation violates our inherent rights to be self-determining and violates our constitutionally protected Aboriginal and treaty rights to govern our own affairs. It also threatens our communally-held traditional lands and current reserve land holdings. It will result in a dumping of liability and no funding to cope with a whole slew of additional regulations and standards that Canada itself can't meet in First Nations now.
This morning Bob Rae, when asked by an RDI reporter, said a Liberal government would absolutely reverse the OAS/GIS move to age 67. Whether anyone believes him or not, that's the only possible answer to give.
Tom Mulcair should be saying: "Of course, that's a no-brainer, but don't forget we will be doubling CPP/QPP as well, besides other measures. Just because Harper is serving the richest elites and attacking Canadians doesn't mean that just returning to the status quo is acceptable. It isn't."
Or, he could follow Fidel's advice, and say: "Well, we hate what Harper is doing, but we have to wait till 2015 to see whether to change it or not."
Harper is destroying the environment, noted in links above. More pipelines, fast-tracking of tarsands and uranium mining, with less protection for the environment and water will increase the greatest contribution to carbon emissions and dangerous forms of energy.
Harper is destroying the economy: He did not implement a financial transactions tax, and continues to push 'free' trade deals that give private finance more power. Therefore, the economy (and ecology) are still out-of-control, subject to the whims of private finance. Harper has failed in his duty to provide stability to the economy.
This is a fundamental failure, as is his failure to uphold the Canada Health Act (according to CBC the federal government is getting out of decision-making in this regard) while the federal government is legally responsible to hold provinces to conditions of universality etc., when they spend federal dollars.
We cannot sustain more job losses, for youth, manufacturing (a carbon tax to support domestic green manufacturing would be good), for public servants, for farmers competing with 'free' trade imports, or for anyone else (eg. the potential 125,000 who will lose their jobs if CETA goes through http://www.policyalternatives.ca/afb2012 ).
Harper's 'plan' takes us all in the wrong direction, one which no one can afford.
It would be good if the NDP, Liberals, and Greens worked together now to prevent the country from being destroyed, instead to implement CCPA's Alternative Federal Budget.
The NDP, Liberals, and Greens could work together, thus forming a majority in parliament. They could collectively vote against Harper's budget, vote non-confidence in government, and form government jointly themselves.
I also hope the rallies calling for a full inquiry into the robocall scandal go well.
If by-elections are held in close ridings then perhaps Harper wouldn't have a majority, and opposition parties could stop Harper's destructive actions if Harper only had a minority. However, more is needed now than suffering another four years of even a Harper minority.
We need to protect the environment and turn the economy around now.
Although Harper has a majority, it would at least send a warning to Harper if all of the Opposition MPs voted unaminously against this budget. It'll pass, but only with the governing party voting for it.
Next: General Strike? One can hope.
I thought that if a majority of parliamentarians vote non-confidence in the government, and are able to present the Governor General with a plan to form the next government, then a new government can be formed.
How is that going to happen when Harper has the majority?
You are aware that the Conservatives have more seats than all other parties put together - aren't you?