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When asked, Canadians are clear about their priorities.  We care about things like a real child care program, health care, education, affordable housing, public services, the  environment, and equality.

Unfortunately, unless Stephen Harper and Jim Flaherty have had a surprising change of heart, it is unlikely that the upcoming federal budget will reflect a desire to bring about the kind of country Canadians wish they lived in.

To show that it doesn’t have to be this way, the CCPA has tabled an Alternative Federal Budget (AFB). It is a kind of “What if?” document. The AFB – using facts and figures based in our political and economic realities – answers the question “What if we had a government that was committed to improving the quality of life for all Canadians?”

The answer to that question is heartening, in that it reveals that the budget Canadians want is a financial possibility. If Jim Flaherty was willing to rethink the tax cuts and loop holes that benefit a small percentage of the country’s richest citizens, we could have a budget based on principals of fairness and equality. We could have a budget
that demonstrates a commitment to all Canadians.

In November 2006, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) reported the findings of a national poll conducted by Environics Research. It revealed that Canadians share the CCPA’s, and CUPE’s, concerns about the increasing inequities in this country:

88 per cent say that increasing the minimum is an effective way to reduce the gap.

86 per cent feel that government should take action on the income gap between rich and poor;

85 per cent say if government took concrete action, poverty in Canada could be drastically reduced;

The AFB addresses these inequalities.  We wish that the upcoming federal budget would as well, but we’re not optimistic. We know it is possible to implement a budget that reflects Canadian values, but we’ll need to first elect a government that shares those values.

To read about what the upcoming federal budget could look like, please read the following documents:

Alternative Federal Budget 2007: Strength in Numbers - PDF File, 855 Kb

Alternative Federal Budget 2007: Poverty Primer: A Comprehensive Strategy to Reduce Poverty and Inequality in Canada - PDF File, 119 Kb

What Can Governments Do About Canada’s Growing Gap? Canadian Attitudes Towards Income Inequality - PDF File, 1065 Kb

Alternative Federal Budget 2007: Budget in Brief - PDF File, 159 Kb