Saturday, May 14, 2005
So here I am actually complimenting their columnists, whom I often criticize, but they cannot benefit from being quoted directly in my widely-read blog --oh well, their loss.
Anyway, several Mop and Pail columnists do write about how it would be the height of arrogance and stupidty for Harper to defeat the budget next Thursday -- the most popular budget in a decade and one that a huge majority of Canadians want to see implemented.
Remember the budget? I think Harper, in particular, has forgotten all about it.
Here is what we will lose if the budget is defeated.
From the February budget:
- $12.8 billion over the next five years for Canada's military, the biggest increase in defence spending in two decades. About $3 billion will go to boosting the strength of the Canadian Forces by 5,000 troops and the reserves by 3,000 soldiers and another $3.2 billion to bolster training, improve medical care, cover supply and repair shortages, and repair infrastructure.
- An increase in the basic personal exemption on income-from $8,012 in 2004 to $10,000 by 2009, allowing Canadians to earn more money tax-free.
- Increases the annual contribution limit on registered retirement savings plans and registered pension plans to $22,000 by 2010, and eliminates the 30 per cent foreign content rule on RRSPs and pension plans immediately.
- Ottawa to share gas tax revenues with municipalities – 1.5 cents per litre, or $600 million in 2005, rising to 5 cents a litre or $2 billion annually by 2009-2010.
- $700 million in a trust fund this year and next for national child care program, with a total commitment of $5 billion over the next five years.
Ottawa to share gas tax revenues with municipalities.
- $170 million over five years to improve Canada's drug safety oversight.
- A pledge to reduce the general corporate tax rate from the current 21 per cent to 20.5 per cent in 2008, 20 per cent in 2009 and 19 per cent by 2010.
- A promise to eliminate the corporate surtax by 2008.
- $1 billion for a Clean Fund for projects to combat climate change.
PLUS the Liberal/NDP accord in April:
- $1.6 billion for affordable housing construction, including aboriginal housing.
- A $1.5-billion increase in transfers to provinces for tuition reduction and better training through EI.
- $900 million for the environment, with one more cent of the federal gas tax going to public transit.
- $500 million for foreign aid to bring Canada in line with a promise of 0.7 per cent of GDP.
- $100 million for a pension protection fund for workers.
- Promised tax cuts for small and medium-sized businesses will remain but cuts for large corporations will be deferred.
So irregardless of whether every single Tory turns up in Ottawa on Thursday, I am hoping that Harper will arrange for a few of them to get the flu or to develop "urgent family emergencies" by which means they would be unavoidably delayed in reaching the Commons in time to vote against this budget.
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