BC government should repeal all secretive, haphazard cuts

September 23, 2009

(Vancouver) The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is calling on the BC government to reverse all cuts to public programs and/or grants made since the February 2009 budget.

“The government has introduced a litany of cuts in areas ranging from the arts to community sports to autism programs for children in the name of reducing provincial spending,“ says CCPA economist Iglika Ivanova. “These cuts represent minimal savings on a $40 billion provincial budget. Yet they have devastating consequences for communities, families and service agencies. It’s a lose-lose situation.”

Ivanova is the author of September 2009 BC Budget Reality Check: Facing the Full Force of the Recession, a report released in advance of the budget update that warned against cutting spending, arguing that cuts would further depress provincial GDP and increase unemployment.

The CCPA is also concerned about the secrecy with which the cuts have been implemented. In the absence of even minimal government transparency, policy analysts, service providers, the media and individual British Columbians have been scrambling to keep track of the government’s decisions on program spending and grants.

“We want the government to live up to its promise of transparency and accountability,” Ivanova says. “It boggles the mind that the province can proceed with no apparent plan, leaving the public guessing about what will be cut next or why.”

“The government should repeal all the cuts announced since the February budget,” Ivanova continues. “Now is not the time to be cutting spending. But if the province insists on reducing spending, it should at least do so in a way that allows for an honest public debate about priorities, and that allows community service agencies to plan ahead.”

The CCPA continues to collect information about the cuts and their impact. Email [email protected] or comment at http://www.policynote.ca/2009/09/17/help-us-track-bc-government-cuts/

For more information or to arrange an interview with Iglika Ivanova, contact Sarah Leavitt, Communications Officer, CCPA-BC, 604-801-5121 x233 or [email protected].