Federal Budget 2013: Five myths of Conservative budget-making A look at the Conservative record, by Les Whittington (Toronto Star)

By Les Whittington, Ottawa Bureau reporter, Toronto Star

Published on Wed Mar 20 2013

Five myths of Tory budget-making:

No Tax Increases: While Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has refrained from across-the-board income tax hikes, the Harper government has quietly tapped into Canadians’ wallets in the form of payroll tax increases. As a result of changes that took effect on Jan. 1, anyone earning at least $47,400 will pay $891.12 in Employment Insurance premiums in 2013, up $51.50.

Controlling Government Spending: The importance of keeping spending under control is a Conservative priority. But since they took power, annual federal spending has risen to $280 billion, an increase of more than 30 per cent.

Size of Government: A much-promoted Conservative restraint measure is reducing the federal public service by 19,000 positions. But the size of the government during the Harper years had grown by 32,000 before those cuts.

Deficit-Cutting: Flaherty stresses the need to avoid debt financing. But, after inheriting a $13-billion budget surplus from the Liberals in early 2006, the Conservatives were running deficits within three years. The current $26-billion annual deficit won’t be erased until 2015 at the earliest.

Jobs: The Conservatives effusively praise Canada’s job-creation record under their government, including the creation of 900,000 net jobs since the recession. But the number of people out of work is still nearly 225,000 higher today than in 2006.


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