Alternative Federal Budget targets Corporate
Cronyism, Rebuilds Canada’s foundations
The federal Liberals say they are determined to clean up their act as a
government, but the Canadian Center for Policy Alternative has a few
suggestion of its own as to how to do this.
The 10th annual Alternative Federal Budget cuts to the heart of federal
funding scandals – not with more tax cuts and spending restraints but
with hard measures of accountability to clean up federal corporate
The AFB’s emphasis on accountability includes: no more P3 deals, no
more federal-provincial cash transfers that come without strings
attached, no more Barbados tax havens, and no more patronage
Released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the AFB
beefs up federal and corporate accountability, cleaning up tax havens
and avoiding federal schemes such as public-private partnerships (P3s)
that shift spending “off book” and out of public view.
“The AFB is going after the real issues that give rise to things like
the sponsorship scandal,” says CCPA economist Ellen Russell. “The
federal government’s response to funding scandals is to do more of the
same: spending restraints, sitting on surpluses, and handing out tax
cuts like they’re candy – but 10 years of that agenda didn’t protect
Canadians from the sponsorship scandal and it’s not the solution now.
“We are making sure public investments stay on the books for public
scrutiny so we know where our money is going and that it’s buying real
As an antidote to P3 financing, the AFB creates an innovative
debt-financing instrument, the Canadian Infrastructure Financing
Authority (CIFA), to invest $5 billion a year to rebuild our cities and
towns. It creates public-public partnerships between the federal and
other levels of government.
“With interest rates at an all-time low and public skepticism about
government money laundering at an all-time high, it’s time to rule out
P3 partnerships as a viable option,” says economist Armine Yalnizyan.
“P3 deals are more expensive. It’s cheaper for government to borrow and
“But P3s are also a slippery slope for money laundering schemes because
they move public funds out of public view and into the pockets of
private corporations who aren’t accountable. We need more
accountability, not less.”
The AFB also keeps corporate tax revenue in Canada by starting to shut
down tax havens — a key source of the funds required to rebuild Canada.
The AFB first made its debut in 1995, the same year Paul Martin
delivered the biggest program spending cuts in Canada’s history.
The AFB balances the books every year, and allocates $56.5 billion over
the next three years to fund what it defines as urgent priorities.
Rebuilding Canada: Invest $3.8 billion a year toward early childhood
education and care; dedicate $1 billion a year to create 75,000 new
affordable housing units; and restore the fair federal share of
provincial and territorial of public health care expenditures by
raising the federal cash transfer to 25 per cent.
Training the next generation: Introduce a labour force innovation
program that would include training insurance for all workers, and
implement improvements to the EI system; create a $1.85 billion
Emergency Training and Adjustment Fund to help reposition the labour
market to meet the challenges of an aging baby boomer generation; and
create a new $1.85 billion National Student Needs-based Grants Fund for
Position Canada as a leader in sustaining the future of our planet:
Earmark a portion of the gas tax to a green transportation fund; invest
in sustainable energy and farming practices; and revitalize Canada’s
role in international development and peace building.
“We’re addressing 10
years of erosion, reinvesting in Canadians while maintaining a balanced
budget, decreasing the debt burden, and toughening up accountability
measures for public spending,” says Russell. “It provides a real
alternative to a decade of Paul Martin budget cuts.”