Yesterday, Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty delivered a fiscal update that he told media the week before would include no special measures to help keep Canada steady in what he called “turbulent” times.
“It’s called a fiscal update and that’s what it is,” said Flaherty, “just an update.”
On Thursday, Flaherty repeated the sentiment, saying, “We were fully aware that difficult times were ahead when I presented our Economic Statement last fall. We planned for it. We made choices to help put Canada in a stronger economic position.”
According to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), the federal government’s response to Canada’s shaky economic situation is wildly out of step with what governments around the world are doing to protect their citizens.
“This economic statement will deepen and lengthen Canada’s recession instead of cushioning the blow,” says CCPA Senior Economist Armine Yalnizyan.
“Slashing and burning federal spending and the government’s indecision on an economic stimulus package will actually contribute to a downward economic spiral.”
The CCPA says the federal government should act immediately to cushion the blow of the global economic crisis. One suggested action involves our favourite word: infrastructure.
They suggest that the Harper government stimulate the economy with an immediate injection of capital to kick-start infrastructure renewal and expansion that municipalities have long had ready to roll. That will create jobs while improving Canada’s aging transportation, water and energy infrastructure, as well as protecting our assets in housing, health care, and education facilities.
At the recent conference in Toronto, Minister Flaherty did say the federal government supports accelerated funding for infrastructure projects, and said they would likely focus on smaller projects that can more easily go from sitting on the books to shovels in the ground.