Plenty of budget room available for new spending

December 6, 2001

OTTAWA--The federal government could allocate at least $10 billion per year to new spending priorities in each of the next two fiscal years, on top of additional monies required for core EI benefits and extra military and security costs, and still balance its budget. This is the conclusion of an economic and fiscal analysis published today by the Alternative Federal Budget Project in the run-up to next week's federal budget.

"The federal government could inject about $10 billion per year in additional spending power, simply by spending the latent surplus it is poised to collect over the next two years," said Jim Stanford, one of the authors of the report.

Mr. Stanford points out that such spending would "add about one percentage point to economic growth and protect as many as 150,000 Canadian jobs."

The government claims that major new investments in the social and economic well-being of Canadians would produce a deficit-something it absolutely refuses to do, "come hell or high water."

The study by the Alternative Federal Budget Project, however, finds that despite the economic downturn the federal government's financial situation is not as serious as it claims-it could boost spending significantly without risking a deficit.

According to the study's co-author, Paul Leduc Browne, "millions of Canadians face crushing insecurity because of the lack of decent, affordable housing, timely and accessible health care, good quality child care, and unemployment protection"

"Badly-needed investments in social programs and public infrastructure would enhance the security of all Canadians, and help protect jobs and incomes in the current recession," added Browne.