The Harper government wants to build on the success of phase one of Canada’s economic action plan which it refers to as the $60 billion stimulus plan. In their view, phase one has been successful in getting Canadians back to work. Phase two will build on the low-tax environment and growth friendly policies created by the Harper government. It provided that the focus of the phase two of Canada’s economic actions plan will be on supporting job creation, investing in innovation, education and training and preserving Canada’s fiscal advantage. In recognition of the ongoing fragility of the world economy, the Harper Government announced new targeted measures to support jobs growth.
Preserving Canada’s fiscal advantage will continue to be the corner stone of the Harper government’s economic policy. The focus will be on balancing the budget and reducing government debt so that the Harper government will be able to keep taxes low and take actions necessary to foster long-term growth and the creation of quality jobs for Canadians. The Harper government is clear in its objective of not raising taxes and will count on government revenue increases attributable to economic growth and government expenditure growth in line with revenue growth to secure balanced budgets.
The Harper government maintains that its plan for returning to a balanced budget is on track. The Harper government projects that budget deficits will be eliminated by 2015-16. It expressed a view that the savings that will arise out of an announced Strategic and Operating Review of government could lead to balanced budgets being realized a year earlier, provide more funds to pay down debt and permit the government to invest in other government priorities. The Harper government makes it clear that federal government transfers to individuals in need of social assistance and transfers to other levels of government for health and social services will not be cut.
Canadians will want to closely monitor the extent to which the Harper government adheres to the budget plan. Canadians believe in the need for the federal government to return to budgetary balance and to retire its debt. They want Canada to have the capacity to invest in the economic drivers that will promote economic growth. However, Canadians are also aware that governments are better at increasing spending than reducing it. Consequently, Canadians will expect the Harper government to be transparent and report on its performance on a regular basis. Quarterly economic updates would satisfy that expectation.