Estimated federal government spending cuts by 2014-15, due to the last three austerity budgets. (Source - Numbers in that blog are drawn from the Federal Budget 2013, pg. 298)
Estimated job losses in both the public and private sector by 2014-15, as a result of a succession of federal government austerity budget decisions. (Source)
3.2 per cent
Recently the Harper government decided to close the Kitsilano Coast Guard station which provided search and rescue services in waters bordering Vancouver. The numerous watercraft (representing 20 million human transits annually) crossing English Bay and False Creek now have to depend on a station over one-half hour from the centre of water traffic.
Though only one small instance of massive government cutbacks, it nevertheless affects the sense of well-being in the lower mainland of British Columbia.
Though the Conservatives deny it, the Kitsilano closure puts lives in danger. Providing security for citizens is what democratic governments are supposed to do.
It's budget season everywhere, and it's all about debt and deficits and the elusive quest to balance the beast, which can only be done, it is said, by cutting services or raising taxes.
The burden of interest charges -- on the same scale as health or education in most provincial budgets -- doesn't get questioned because interest is fixed by the gods according to divine law, retribution from which we can only escape through harsher and harsher penance.
Or is it? Let's chew on a couple of startling points.
The triumphal Harper plan -- trash the public sector and all its (Liberal) works, and let the oilsands economy pick up the slack while transforming Canada into a right-wing energy superpower -- is on the skids. The polls are reflecting it in the prime minister's and his party's slipping public confidence ratings. The Harper showpiece, the budget, is full of non-specifics and shoes-yet-to-drop and merely raises new questions. The real point now, I suggest, is how much damage is yet to be done by this government before its number is finally up in a couple of years.