Federal budget set to unleash significant program spending cuts: CCPA

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OTTAWA -- Monday's federal budget is expected to unleash one of the biggest assaults on the public sector in Canada's history, says a new Alternative Federal Budget (AFB) report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

The report gives Canadians a sense of what to expect from the Harper government's first majority budget, telegraphing a hard shift to the right.

"Despite the government's stay-the-course rhetoric, the budget will lay the foundation for the most aggressive assault on public service delivery in Canadian history," says AFB Coordinator David Macdonald.

"The scale of the cuts expected in Monday's budget will be staggering. The public sector job cuts already flagged in the March budget will result in the elimination of 80,000 public sector jobs-about one-third of the public sector. This will unavoidably result in drastic cuts to public services Canadians currently rely on."

The report argues the federal deficit could shrink more quickly than anticipated thanks to stronger-than-expected economic growth, raising doubts about the need for any deep cuts at all.

"A good deal of the deficit would automatically be reduced by revenue growth that comes along with the type of economic growth we've been seeing in oil, minerals, potash, and the financial sector," says CCPA Senior Economist Armine Yalnizyan. "Instead, the government's cutting corporate taxes as fast as it can."

Yalnizyan also warns big questions about the future of Medicare now looms over Canada.

"This budget will be pitched as the same old, same old but nothing could be further from the truth," says Yalnizyan. "This budget will put in place the machinery that leads to a smaller role for the federal government in Canadians' lives. Many of the programs we cherish -- including universal public health care -- could end up looking very different, depending on where you live in Canada."

Budget 2011 Redux: What's New in Version 2 is availbale on the CCPA website. Click here.

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