Financial means for social reinvestment exist but what about the political will?

January 26, 2004

OTTAWA--On the eve of the Speech from the Throne, Canada finds itself at an historic moment: will Paul Martin as Prime Minister be any different than Paul Martin as Finance Minister--The Man Who Killed Big Government?

Paul Martin's Permanent Revolution, by economist and CCPA Research Fellow Armine Yalnizyan, details how Paul Martin's reign as the federal Finance Minister brought about lasting change by shrinking the scope and role of government, neutering funding mechanisms, and deeply cutting spending, even for programs the government was committed to providing.

Though there is now more economic capacity to meet the needs of Canadians than at any other time in our history, as a result of Paul Martin's zeal for tax cuts, debt repayment, and permanent restructuring, there are fewer resources devoted to these purposes. Virtually all social development initiatives to cover the human basics identified in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights - clean water, shelter, food, health care and education - are increasingly in jeopardy for growing numbers of Canadians.

"Given that the federal government's coffers and political support are unusually robust at this point in our history, it is entirely possible for a political leader to launch something truly revolutionary for our times," concludes Yalnizyan.

"It presents an opportunity for Paul Martin to prove that he is not yesterday's man and, instead, launch a revolution worth starting, one that reinvests in the future of all Canadians."

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