As many Federal ministries and agencies lurch into an era of running without funds, they are spending less and less time searching for a compromise to balance the budget, and more and more time deciding how to use it to their advantage on the campaign trail. Meanwhile services for Canadians are becoming inadequate and in some cases demolished.
In an attempt to change this, the Jean Chretien Government’s recent budget plan chiefly funded the crisis in our health care system.Merely for the funding of health care and other “socially friendly” services, Paul Martin’s federal budget seems to be a left wing, but other fundings, like that of productivity and the military makes it a combination of a left wing and a right wing budget.So finally, after a pain-staking crisis in our health care system the Government decided to make an immediate payoff to the provinces. Ottawa funded the provinces a total of $3.5 billion that’s being put into the Canada Health and Social Transfer (CHST) from this years budget. The money can be used by the provinces over the next three years. It’s expected that $2 billion will be spent in this year alone.
The government will also increase the yearly amount put into CHST. After five years the yearly transfer will be $15 billion. That’s an increase from the current level of $12.5 billion, which Ottawa is now guaranteeing as a minimum. In total the provinces will receive $1.6 billion more from Ottawa than they thought they were to get last October.
The money can be used as the provinces choose, with strings attached.It may sound like a lot, but by the time the increases are in place, the transfer will still be below the nearly $19 billion that was transferred in the 1993-94 fiscal year. Also this money doesn’t mean that lineups in emergency wards across the country will suddenly beeliminated. As Paul Martin said these commitments to health care add up to “the largest new investment we have ever made.The Government should be proud of there investment in health care. But one also has to wonder if these contributions are a method of bargaining back for some of the votes the Government had lost in the recent APEC summit controversial, which specifically put Jean Chretien on the hot spot. Is Jean ‘wagging the dog’ too? You be the judge!The Liberals plan, if all goes well could save dollars for the Country and does not include a tax increase, but most of the cuts would not take effect until he is out of office (after the next election), in the year 2001.
Although this Government are sometimes criticized for producing a standoff in budget talks, they points out that the debt has gone down since they took office. There plan is as follows: In total over the next three years, this budget will provide $7.7 billion in tax relief, which is slightly less than the $8.8 billion in tax cuts in last year’s budget.
Starting July 1, there will be changes to basic personal exemption levels. All taxpayers will have a basic personal exemption that is $675 higher than it was before 1998. last year’s budget eliminated the general 3 per cent surtax for those with taxable incomes of up to about $50,000. This budget eliminates the 3 per cent surtax for the remaining taxpayers – those who have taxable incomes of more than $50,000.According to Martin, this measure will remove 200,000 Canadians from the tax rolls in addition to the 400,000 low-income earners who no longer had to pay taxes last year. This year’s budget also adds $300