Chantal Hebert thinks that the budget will limit the size and cost of government significantly. Good. I had hoped for even bigger cuts and no new spending, but I am interested by Hebert's take on this. There are many federal government programs that don't work. We should use this opportunity to rid Canada of these failed programs. This budget is only a first step.
That was a nightmare for Conservative purists. The 2009 budget generated a record deficit and it saw the federal government intervene heavily in the private sector, in particular to salvage Ontario's auto industry.
This year, the ideological tables are turned and, with Michael Ignatieff literally watching from the sidelines, Harper is set to start clipping the wings of future federal governments.
The Liberals will give Harper's austerity budget a pass – by not showing up in great enough numbers to defeat it when it is up for a vote – to avoid an election they say Canadians don't want and they fear they would lose. But they will also let the budget and its attending deficit-elimination plan survive for lack of having a credible alternative to put to voters.
Under the blueprint submitted to the House of Commons by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty Thursday, government programs and the civil service that operates them will bear the brunt of the upcoming federal efforts to eliminate the deficit.
Over the next three to five years, little or no new money will flow to the operations of the federal government. The defence department, a Conservative spending priority since 2006, will see its budget grow more slowly than anticipated. Most other departments will see little or no growth for the foreseeable future and some will also endure outright cuts.