Alternative Federal Budget delivers real social reinvestment

AFB balanced, needs-driven
February 17, 2003

OTTAWA--The majority of Canadians who want the federal government to abandon its narrow focus on tax cuts and debt reduction will find the social reinvestment they're looking for in Alternative Federal Budget 2003: The Cure for the Common Budget, released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

The Chretien Liberals eliminated the federal budget deficit, and dramatically reduced the debt, at the expense of the social supports and programs that Canadians rely upon to enhance their quality of life. While the government promised to take a balanced ("50-50") approach to spending the fiscal dividend, in reality it has allocated only about 10% of the dividend to new program spending.

The Alternative Federal Budget shows what the federal government would do if it was genuinely committed to addressing the social debt that was accumulated while the fiscal debt was paid down.

"The budget released on Tuesday will be Chretien's legacy budget, and the Liberals know that Canadians want major reinvestment in social programs," said Todd Scarth, co-ordinator of the AFB project. "Yet the Liberals have never delivered on these demands, and there's no chance they will do so next week, despite their much-ballyhooed 'balanced approach.'"

Using widely accepted macroeconomic assumptions, the AFB demonstrates that there is enough room for major investments in health care, post-secondary education, child care, and the environment without running a deficit.