Canadian budget includes $11.8 billion for infrastructure

| 1/28/2009

The much anticipated federal budget proposal in Canada contains an $11.8 billion stimulus package for infrastructure, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced.

Flaherty unveiled details of the five-year federal budget projection and accompanying stimulus package on Tuesday, Jan. 28.

Flaherty announced that program spending in Canada would total more than $229 billion in the 2009 fiscal year, an increase of 10.7 percent from 2008.

Deficit spending would continue for four years and put Canada approximately $85 billion in the red by 2013 in an effort to boost the economy. Canada currently has the world’s eighth largest economy.

In the short term, the federal budget would provide $30 billion to fund infrastructure, housing, businesses and the financial sector.

For infrastructure, the government plans to spend $6.2 billion in 2009 and $5.6 billion in 2010 on top of what is currently spent on roads, bridges, border-crossing facilities, broadband Internet access, electronic health records and health and science labs.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, leader of the Conservative Party, is responsible for convincing lawmakers from the other two major federal parties, to pass the budget.

Members of the Liberal Party and New Democratic Party currently outnumber the Conservatives in Parliament, so nothing will come easy.

As portions of the budget were leaked to media during the past few weeks, Liberals and New Democrats went on the record to criticize the stimulus for not going far enough to help the Canadian people.

Harper hopes to sweeten the deal by proposing to cut Canadian personal income taxes by $20 billion.

Should the Liberals and New Democrats fail to help Harper pass the budget, there is talk of Harper and the Conservatives being ousted from power via a no-confidence vote.

– By David Tanner, staff writer