How to Balance the Books?
Prince George, B.C. – Today our special election coverage comes to a close with this final question of the candidates: What would you be willing to cut from the federal budget in order to balance the books? (answers in alphabetical order).
Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies:
Elizabeth Biggar, The Green Party: If you read the Green Parties Platform, it is already completely costed but if needed definitely parliamentary salaries and pensions. It is absolutely shocking what an MP will receive over their lifetime with a pension included, for even just 8 years of service., and which they still receive if fired. I am pretty sure they don’t work any harder than the soldier in Afghanistan or the fireman running into a burning building to put out fires. Cut Cut Cut!
Todd Keller, Libertarian Party: Simple math. The least productive programs (ones that cost the most and accomplish the least) must be cut. All new spending adds to the national debt thanks to our debt based Keynesian monetary system. Money spent inside government programs is “dead money ” insomuch as it is tax dollars that do not circulate through the economy in the way it needs to. My favorite monetary chart, the M2 Money Velocity chart, is lower now than it was during the Great Depression! This proves that even with an expanded government balance sheet vis-a-vie new spending it does not help the economy anymore. New economic policy is needed to fix the economy.
Matt Shaw, Liberal Party: There are so many things, it’s difficult to know where to start. I would never cut funding that goes into the hands and pockets of working Canadians. My main goal as a politician is to help working people and families. The sheer economic ineptitude of the Harper Government is incredible. For example, in 2013 the Government allocated $12.9 billion for security and anti-terrorism funding. Incredibly, the Government lost 3.1 billion of this money. The auditor general found that the money has simply disappeared. And no one knows where it went. I would start by cutting all this nonsense spending and focus instead on investing in programs that actually help Canadians. Additionally, Canada spends over $20 billion on defence, and a significant portion of this money goes to participating in wars in Libya, Syria, and posturing near Ukraine. I would cut war spending from the budget and restore Canada to its role as peace keeper. Participating in unnecessary foreign wars does nothing for Canada and costs vast sums of money that we could put to good use at home.
*Note Conservative incumbent Bob Zimmer and NDP challenger Kathi Dickie in the Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies riding declined the opportunity to respond.
Tracy Calogheros, Liberal Party: I believe in the Infrastructure Program announced by Justin Trudeau. I do not believe that Canada is in the economic position to absorb cuts in the immediate future, nor do I believe that the budget can be balanced without significant cuts as it stands now. We are presently in deficit and the economy is in a recession. We need to grow our economy from the middle class out, and that will take a little time. The wealthy need to contribute their fair share in order to allow middle class Canadians a little breathing room. Interest rates are at historic lows and as such, now is the time to utilize our ability to borrow. Borrowing funds now to create jobs that will build our country for the decades to come will inject dollars into the economy in the short term and support the growth that will follow with expanded capacity in our communities.
Sheldon Clare, Independent: There are three main ways to adjust revenue in the federal budget. In general terms, one is to cut programs and services, another is to increase taxes, and a third is to increase the tax base so as to provide additional revenues, while limiting any drain on services.
From my perspective, programs and services have been cut dramatically in areas that directly affect Canadians, personal income tax increases are not a helpful solution, but some consideration of user tax increases may be helpful, along with consideration to cutting back on corporate subsidies.
Also, attracting immigrant entrepreneurs who can build and help the Canadian economy by creating quality jobs for people will help the budget as well. Furthermore, serious efforts must be made to pay down the federal debt, as the interest payments on that debt are a significant part of where our tax dollars are spent while providing no benefit to our society.
A combination of these approaches should greatly improve our budget to make the money coming in match the money going out.
Adam De Kroon, Christian Heritage Party: To fully answer the question a review of the entire budget would be required. As MP I would work more deeply through to budget in order propose meaningful cuts. One type of thing I would support cutting would be monies given to partisan groups and organizations.
Trent Derrick, NDP: Governing is about making choices and setting priorities. Harper has chosen $60 billion in tax giveaways for big corporations, and millions more in tax breaks for CEOs and subsidies to oil companies. Justin Trudeau has chosen to continue Harper’s tax giveaways, and will even borrow money to do so. That’s not a long-term solution. New Democrats have different priorities. We’re going to make corporations pay their fair share instead of saddling Canadians with more debt. Tom Mulcair has a fully-costed out plan to invest in a $15-dollar a day childcare, lift thousands of seniors out of poverty and promote a healthy middle class.
Todd Doherty, Conservative Party: Well, as you have heard, Economic Action Plan 2015 is on track for a year end surplus. Our Conservative government is projecting a $1.4 billion surplus through a combination of spending controls and economic growth. A $5 billion surplus has been recorded for the first quarter of this fiscal year, which was higher than the budget forecast for the quarter.
Unlike the other parties and candidates, I’m not committing to billions of dollars in new spending. We don’t need to rely on cuts, and can look to economic growth and our Economic Action Plan, both of which have gotten us on track for a balanced budget in this fiscal year and for several to come, and economic growth is projected to be positive for the years to come, despite weakness in the global economy and price of oil.
Richard Jacques, The Green Party: All Federal subsidies to oil and gas extraction and development on a national scale.