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Disappointment and Outrage Over Federal Budget

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Issue: 17 Section: Canadian News Geography: Canada Topics: privatization, education, poverty, health

April 6, 2004

Disappointment and Outrage Over Federal Budget

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Paul Martin's budget has angered anti-poverty groups and student with loans. photo: Tooker Gomberg
Every federal budget has been attacked from opposition parties and other interest groups, and this will likely always be the case. However, the Liberals' March budget seems to have especially outraged a wide range of groups who are trying to help the people who are becoming, due to events like this budget, more and more marginalized.

The NDP's Jack Layton argues, for one thing, that by privatizing Petro-Canada shares, the government is squandering any chance it could have at shifting subsidies from polluting to clean energy. Layton also argues that the lack of attention to real health care reform by the budget will inevitably lead to hospital privatization.

The Canadian Housing and Renewal Association (CHRA) says that the budget needed to do something fast for affordable housing, but it did not happen. The CHRA says that Canada needs to start producing 25,000 affordable housing units a year in order, and the budget, while paying lip service to the problem, does not come close to making affordable housing a reality.

The Canadian Federation of Students (CFA) says that the budget's increase of student debt allowances (estimated at being approximately $35,000 at the end of a four year degree compared to the current $25,000) does nothing toward making post secondary more accessible to the disadvantaged. What is really needed, says the CFA, is a system that will lower tuitions, or at least freeze them; the higher debt allowance will only serve to raise tuitions, it claims.

Finally, the National Anti-Poverty Organization (NAPO) is upset that there is so much emphasis on debt reduction at the expense of the poor. Ignoring social housing, child poverty, and EI reform will simply accelerate the rich-poor divide, says NAPO. It also points out that the growing poverty issue that the budget does nothing to fix will end up costing otherwise avoidable billions in social spending (such as health care, the prison system, etc.).

» Rabble.ca: Martin's budget: we live in two different worlds

» National Anti-Poverty Organization: Obsession with Debt Precludes Action on Poverty

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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