Spend The Surplus
October 22, 1998
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Canada's economy is slowing down while the federal Government raking in billions in surplus money and refuses to spend any of it. According to economist Jim Stanford the government is doing the wrong thing.
"When the economy is slowing down that is exactly when the federal government should be doing something to stimulate the economy.
I f the government responds to a slow down by battening down the hatches and putting all the money away for a rainy day the government itself can create the recession that it is worried about."
A million Canadians are unemployed and are cut off from UI benefits. Stanford says they are the first people Ottawa should be helping.
"The government's first priority clearly has to be to repair unemployment benefits. Bring back benefits to those one million unemployed Canadians who at this point receive nothing. Secondly they have to look at investing in some major public works projects. I'm not talking about short-term make work projects. I'm talking about the major source of investment in infrastructure such as transportation, communication, social services. Things like building railways, improving our ports, improving the Internet system in Canada, rebuilding some of the hospitals and schools that are crumbling from neglect in Canada."
Finance Minister Paul Martin says Canadians can forget about tax cuts and spending increases. He claims the money isn't there despite 1997's 3.5 billion dollar surplus. Stanford says you can't believe Martin's figures.
"This Finance Minister, his budget is so padded with conservative assumptions and contingency funds and all other kinds of accounting tricks, that when he says there is no money in the bank he is quite simply lying. Working Canadian have pumped billions of dollars into the federal government by enduring cutbacks and paying high taxes and it is damn well time the federal government put some of the money back into the Canadian economy."
CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."