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Budget 2012 cuts hit hard

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Council of Canadians staff are now combing through the almost 500-page Budget 2012 and we will be issuing our second "media availability" release shortly so that campaigners may be contacted for interviews on the budget measures, including:

The Canadian Press
PRO-FREE TRADE
- “Thursday’s federal budget, the seventh since Stephen Harper took office, is the first with an overtly pro-trade and resource development bent and a dearth of voter-friendly goodies. A majority mandate with three full years before the next election will do that for a conservative-minded prime minister.”

AN AUSTERITY BUDGET
- “It’s an austerity budget, whatever the government claims.”

CUTTING ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENTS
- “The budget’s business-friendly measures include streamlining environmental assessments to speed major resource projects — think pipelines — into existence; recasting research and development funds; tailoring the labour market, including immigration, to specific job shortages; and a focus on new free-trade deals.”

19,200 FEDERAL JOBS LOST
- “The budget document, for the most part, is careful to obscure exactly where the greatest pain will come from spending cuts, while broadly outlining that 19,200 federal jobs are to be cut — some 4.8 per cent of the federal workforce.”

$377 MILLION CUT TO INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE
- “International assistance falls $377 million annually within three years, and both Health Canada and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada will lose $310 million out of their annual budgets by 2014-15.”

MINIMAL FUNDING FOR FIRST NATIONS WATER
- “(There is) almost $331 million over two years to improve water systems on reserves.”

CBC
$5.2 BILLION IN CUTS
- “Savings of $5.2 billion a year by 2015.”

OAS ELIGIBILITY TO 67
- “Age of eligibility for Old Age Security rises gradually to 67 from 65 starting in 2023 — but does not affect anyone 54 or older as of March 31, 2012.”

24-MONTH TIME LIMIT ON ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENTS
- “One review for major resource development projects, capped at 24 months, including current projects like the Northern Gateway pipeline.”

10 PER CENT CUT TO THE CBC
- “CBC funding cut by 10 per cent over three years, with annual $60-million programming top-up rolled into base funding.”

The Globe and Mail
$200 MILLION IN HEALTH CARE CUTS
- “Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada will share services and eliminate duplication to find cost savings of more than $200-million per year by 2014.”

AN END TO SIX PERCENT FORMULA FOR HEALTH CARE
- “Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, meanwhile, says the annual hike of 6 per cent each year is unsustainable and will be replaced by increases that are tied to economic growth.”

OpenFile Media
$79.3 MILLION IN CUTS TO FISHERIES
-“The budget calls for $79.3 million in cuts to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, expected to be rolled out by 2014-15. As the budget notes, Fisheries and Oceans will be expected to ‘restructure its operations, consolidate internal services, and leverage technology’ to hit that number.”

The Toronto Star
$687 MILLION IN CUTS TO PUBLIC SAFETY (INCLUDING RCMP AND BORDER SECURITY)
- “The government hopes to squeeze $687 million in savings from the department of Public Safety, including $195 million from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and $143 million from the Canada Border Services Agency.”

EMBASSY CLOSURES
- “Foreign Affairs is on the hook to reduce its budget by $169 million and expects to find savings by selling off official embassies abroad, reducing its vehicle fleet and extending the duration of its foreign postings to avoid relocation costs.”

Brent Patterson, Political Director, The Council of Canadians
www.canadians.org/blog

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