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Wanted: more walk, less talk in today's federal budget
January 19 2018, 05:32 | Irvin Gilbert
The federal government also promised to invest $11.2 billion over 11 years in affordable housing. But at best, academic researchers can hope to tap modest monies either allocated or reprofiled for a bevy of national programs generally aimed at promoting "innovation", particularly through partnerships between industry and universities, or from several smaller, boutique initiatives, such as one to develop a national action plan to respond to health risks posed by climate change.
The government is also looking for savings in other ways that will hit the pocketbooks of many Canadians, by eliminating the public transit tax credit, raising the tax on alcohol by two per cent - beginning Thursday - and changing the rules so that ride-sharing businesses, such as Uber, are subject to the same sales taxes as traditional taxis. "The next step in our plan for Canada's economy is making the smart, responsible investments we need to be innovative and competitive".
The government is committing to a federal-provincial partnership to address the particular housing needs of each province.
"Canadian export growth could remain modest and possible USA policy actions affecting trade could restrain exports to the US even further", the budget said. Especially when combined with higher corporate taxes.
"It's important to have a tax system that's fair and less complex", Finance Minister Bill Morneau said when asked about the matter during a news conference on the budget.
The Justin Trudeau government's new national housing plan promises about $1 billion a year for the next decade to help bring housing costs into reach for more Canadians.
The Government is proposing to provide Infrastructure Canada with $300 million over 11 years to launch the Smart Cities Challenge Fund, modeled after an existing USA competition, to invite Canadian cities to develop Smart Cities Plans to improve the quality of urban life through better planning and implementation of clean, digitally connected technology for greener buildings, smart roads and energy systems, and advanced digital connections for homes and business.
Ottawa's bookkeepers also found another $933 million over six years, thanks to previously planned defence commitments that were not spent as quickly as initially expected.
The credit was introduced to encourage people to use public transit, thus reducing greenhouse gases, but the government says it hasn't worked.
The budget, which projects a deficit of $28.5 billion this coming fiscal year, including a contingency reserve, is created to help them get there.
Overall, the fund gives the Liberals a way to bypass provinces and deliver more cash straight to local governments. "The reason they said they would be going into debt or deficit of $10 billion a year is because the money would be used for infrastructure".
But it does promise the creation of an Arctic Energy Fund, worth $400 million over 10 years, though that money won't start flowing until 2018-19.
The budget statement estimates the change will raise CA$3 million (US$2.5 million) in new revenue in the 2017 budget year, rising to CA$5 million (US$3.7 million) in a few years.
In addition, it was rumoured that Finance Minister Bill Morneau's budget would close numerous tax advantages available to small corporations, including taxing any cash not needed for immediate use at a much higher rate.
Innovation: $950 million over five years to support business-led "superclusters".
On the surface, a federal budget might seem to be inherently gender neutral.
In the budget this year, the Liberals said the government was reviewing how the rich use private corporations to limit their taxes.