Ottawa drops its “new” budget with few changes from March—only more deficit anxiety

Ottawa drops its “new” budget with few changes from March—only more deficit anxiety

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty (Image: Rocco Rossi)

The federal election may have changed Parliament’s political makeup, but it seems to have changed relatively little in the minds of Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and his boss, Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The evidence? The budget bomb Flaherty dropped on Monday. The most recent budget is almost exactly the same as the one that brought down the government in March, except for one big difference: a serious focus on the deficit.

According to the Globe and Mail:

On top of already ambitious targets to curb growth in government spending, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty stressed the importance of the government’s 2015 target to erase the deficit as he released a slightly revised version of his March budget. Now armed with a majority, the Conservatives will have no problem winning Parliament’s approval for this latest spending plan.

Ottawa’s newish focus on the deficit has a few important implications for Toronto. The most significant is probably that with $4 billion in cuts on the horizon, the mayor’s office may have a tough time getting the feds to ante up a large chunk of change for the $2 billion–plus needed for the Sheppard Subway extension. And remember when Ottawa axed funds to help immigrants settle in Ontario? We expect more of the same. The Conservatives are sure to be on the hunt for things to cut, and it’s likely that Toronto and other cities will be getting less money for stuff. Anyone at city hall hoping for billions-with-a-B from Ottawa might want to look elsewhere.

Government departments to get slashed next year: Flaherty [Toronto Sun]
Budget on the table, public service on the chopping block [Globe and Mail]
Spending cuts no big deal: Flaherty [CBC]