:: PoliticsWatch Archives

> Frontpage
> Recent News
> News Archive
> Recent  Features 
> Features Archive

:: Inside PoliticsWatch

> Contact PoliticsWatch

:: PoliticsWatch News

Taxpayer group says spending cuts could go further

[PoliticsWatch updated 5:50 p.m. September 26, 2006]

OTTAWA  — All three opposition parties ganged up on the Conservatives on Tuesday and spent most of question period berating the government for Monday's announcement of $1 billion in spending cuts. 
But the Canadian Taxpayers Federation says that $1 billion is just a drop in the bucket and the government could have gone further. 
In question period on Tuesday, Interim Liberal leader Bill Graham used language that Prime Minister Stephen Harper described as false and an exaggeration. 
"The vindictive, mean-spirited cuts targeted at the weak, the needy, the vulnerable, and the marginalized in Canada could only have been dreamt up by the insider group of Conservative Mike Harris holdover ministers in the government," Graham said in the House. 

Former Harris cabinet ministers Jim Flaherty and John Baird announced the cuts during a press conference late on Monday afternoon. 

About one-third of the figure came from what the government calls non-core programs and value for money reasons. 

This included the elimination of federal funding for 10 programs or groups, including the Court Challenges Program, the Canadian Policy Research Networks, medical marijuana research and an Aboriginal tobacco control strategy.

"This government has reviewed government expenditures to ensure we are getting value for money and that we fulfil the commitments we made in the budget to reduce expenditures and bring the growth of expenditures under control," Harper said during question period.

"The previous government did that in its last several budgets and did not deliver. This government has delivered."

While the opposition parties wailed and gnashed their teeth over the cuts, John Williamson of the Canadian Taxpayer Federation was quietly applauding the government for what he considers a good first start.  

"The spending announcements yesterday are not going to change or impact services or programs that Canadians receive," Williamson told PoliticsWatch. "By that I mean old age entitlement wasn't cut, health-care wasn't cut, the armed forces budget wasn't cut."

Williamson estimates that there is much as $4 billion in corporate welfare and $8 billion in transfers to special interest groups that should be further examined for future cutting. 

"There's approximately six to eight billion dollars that goes to fund interest groups, NGOs, third-party groups in this country and I think what we saw yesterday was just a drop in the budget," he said.

"I don't see why taxpayers should be funding advocates for daycare. It's a political decision and each group should be out raising its own money. But it particularly seems odd the government would fund any group that is challenging its own legislation."

Williamson said he was especially pleased to see the government reducing funding for the controversial Technology Partnerships Program and the Court Challenges Program.  

He said the Court Challenges Program "tended to fund left-wing ideology or left-wing agendas and that was problematic for the federal government."

While the program is being credited with prevention of the Montfort Hospital closure in Ottawa it also led the charge to give federal prisoners the right to vote. 

The prime minister is also well aware of the program.

His chief of staff, Ian Brodie, authored a paper critical of the program in 2002 and Harper himself saw the program fund Democracy Watch's intervention against the National Citizen Coalition's challenge of third-party advertising laws when Harper headed up the group.  

Williamson said the government should not be funding any special interest groups or think tanks with taxpayer money. 

He noted that one representative from a think tank that saw its funding eliminated this week said in an interview that it provide services to 1.6 million Canadians. 

What Williamson would tell that person is: "Great. You'll have no problem turning to your supporters and asking them for donations to continue your operations."

:  Related Links

> Finance Department list of spending cuts

© PoliticsWatch® 2006. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PoliticsWatch content, including by framing, copying, linking or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Public Interests Research and Communications Inc. (PIRCINC). PoliticsWatch is registered trademark of PIRCINC.

> More Recent PoliticsWatch News...

:: Got a News Tip?

Call the PoliticsWatch
tip-line at 613.232.0516


PoliticsWatch Home  |  News Services  Voter Resources  |  Research Base

© PoliticsWatch® 2004. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PoliticsWatch content, 
including by framing, copying, linking or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of 
Public Interests Research and Communications Inc. (PIRCINC). PoliticsWatch is registered trademark of PIRCINC.
PoliticsWatch® | Canada's Political Portal™
85 Albert Street, Suite 1502, Ottawa ON K1P 6A4 |  phone: 613.232.0516
news@politicswatch.com  |  Terms of Service, Copyright, Trademarks, and Disclaimers Statement