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What to expect in Harper's budget today

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Photo: pmwebphotos/flickr

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says that this year's budget won't show a surplus, but that the spring 2015 budget will, just in time for the October 2015 election. He has also been suggesting that today's budget will include new spending on infrastructure and job creation initiatives, as well as a crackdown on charitable organizations.

In last year's budget, Flaherty announced a 10-year, $53-billion infrastructure plan, with spending scheduled to begin this year. That includes a $14.4-billion Building Canada Fund to promote public-private partnerships. And he is suggesting that this budget will have money to help 15-24 year-old youth to help them get their first job, which could mean money for internships and apprenticeships. Flaherty has also warned that there may be new rules for charities engaged in environmental work, undoubtedly targeted at those opposing the government's extreme resource-extraction agenda.

And it has been reported, "QMI Agency has learned that the 2014 budget will confirm a two-year freeze on the operating budgets of federal government departments, ask retiring civil servants to pay a greater percentage of their publicly funded health plan costs, and move towards a system which will see employees of Crown corporations pay more for their retirement plans."

What we don't expect to see in the budget is the needed investments in water and wastewater infrastructure for First Nations across this country, spending on the Great Lakes, nor a shift away from the 2014 Health Accord formula that will take $36 billion out of our public health care system over the next 10 years. While Canadian corporations continue to sit on their profits (a record level $572 billion) and the wealth gap in this country continues to grow, the Harper government continues on its austerity path to cut federal spending by $90 billion between 2010 and 2014.

The budget will be unveiled at 4 p.m. ET today.

Photo: pmwebphotos/flickr

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