Wednesday February 27, 2008

Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday February 27, 2008

Flaherty delivers ‘prudence’ in 2008 budget

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will unveil the federal budget Tuesday, and it’s expected to include plans to help Canada’s struggling automotive sector and boost infrastructure, sources have told CTV News.

Auto companies will be able to tap into a new fund of more than $200 million, so they can build more fuel-efficient cars to stave off sluggish sales and job losses.

“What that does is allow manufacturers to write off new machinery and equipment that they’re purchasing,” Craig Alexander, deputy chief economist for TD Bank, told CTV News.

The budget is also expected to include plans for a job-creating fund called Build Canada. It would devote $500 million towards roads, bridges and other infrastructure in the country’s major urban areas.

Armine Yalnizyan, of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, said crumbling infrastructure is becoming a major issue in Canada’s cities, along with poor public transit.

“We’re operating in this bizarre period of almost Depression-era politics with mayors going to the federal government with cap in hand, saying, ‘We can’t deal with the pressures that are facing growing cities,'” she told CTV Newsnet.

Flaherty warned Monday that the budget won’t have any major spending initiatives, but the government is expected to disclose a surplus with an extra $1 billion. (Source: CTV News)