Cameron Wigmore, Green Party Member: Conservatives short-change Future Generations

May 3, 2006

Conservatives short-change Future Generations

The following media release is in response to the new Conservative government’s budget.
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Why cut GST, increase the burden on the working poor and subsidize air pollution?

(Ottawa – Tuesday, 2 May 2006) – "Why cut GST, increase the burden on the working poor and subsidize air pollution?" asked Green Party leader Jim Harris following Harper’s budget speech.

The Green Party is appalled at the Conservative government’s fiscal assault on Canadians’ quality of life and the failure of any party in Parliament to offer a vision of Canada that is fiscally, socially and environmentally sustainable.

"Cutting one or two percent off the GST proportionally increases the cost of collecting it," said Green Party finance critic, Ariel Lade, an economist based in Victoria, BC. "Instead of cutting the GST, why don’t we eliminate it from hybrid vehicles, bicycles, alternative medicine, and books?" At the same time the Green Party would levy against products and services that harm our way of life such as gas-guzzling vehicles, chemical fertilizers and unsustainable resource extraction.

A Green budget would include:

• Introducing fiscal incentives to meet Canada’s greenhouse emission targets. The Green Party would eliminate subsidies to the fossil fuel industry freeing billions to pay down the debt and improve healthcare;

• Eliminating the GST on things that improve society and reduce our ecological footprint such as hybrid vehicles, bicycles, alternative medicine, and books;

• Raising the basic personal exemption amount to relieve the additional tax burden on people living below the poverty line;

• Funding a citizen’s committee on democratic reform. We need an
electoral system that values every vote and encourages collaboration among different political parties in Parliament.

• Acknowledge that the government’s objective is to increase Canadians’ well-being and not simply create more economic activity for its own sake.

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As a musician I've been wondering what will happen to arts funding. I suppose It's not all bad as funding for the arts wasn't taken away altogether, but it wasn't improved upon by any great degree, and it's obvious that this government is not a strong supporter of the arts.

Bob McPhee, a spokesman for the Canadian Arts Coalition says "At least it's an indication there is a level of support for the arts".

The Writers' Union of Canada expressed disappointment that the previous government's funding pledge to the council wasn't honoured.

"The government should go back to school and learn economics 101," Brian Brett, chair of the Writers' Union, said in a statement. "Funding to the arts is returned more than eight-fold to Canada's economy and to its tax revenue."

For more on this story see the following links.

$50 million for Canada Council but little for arts (Canadian Press)

Grateful for a few crumbs (Toronto Star)


Cameron W said...

Just came across a great examination of the CPC's fiscal policies. See it here:

The liberal school of economics affirms the laissez-faire market and the classic theory of "Save in the boom, Spend in the bust" and is attributed today to "conservative" politics. One would hope that a politician who claims to be a fiscal conservative would follow this school of thought (regardless of it being called "liberal"). With huge surplus' coming into the federal governments hands one would hope that they would save the money for when (and if) the country comes into some financial trouble.

That's not the CPC plan. Their fiscal agenda: cut taxes when surplus' are coming in. $20 Billion in taxes to be exact.

I suppose it's not "spending" persay, but what then again is it? It's certainly not saving. It' s certainly not paying down the debt. It's certainly not conservative fiscal management.

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