|April 2012 -- Long Term Prosperity|
All eyes were on Finance Minister Jim Flaherty last week as the 2012 Federal Budget was presented.
Mindful that Canada has outperformed our trading partners in a global economy that remains fragile, the budget focused squarely on jobs, growth and long-term prosperity.
This was consistent with the input you provided me in our 2nd Annual ADFW Constituent Survey in January.
The highlights included $1.6 billion for innovation – laying the groundwork for the jobs of the future, a balanced budget in 2015-16, and changes to ensure that Old Age Security (OAS) would be sustainable in the long-term.
Most importantly, the OAS changes will not affect those over 54 years of age, will be phased-in for those between 50 and 54, and provide plenty of notice of this change for people under 50 today. It's also important to note that the CPP program is unchanged.
Locally, $6.5 million was earmarked in the budget for a three-year McMaster project that examines healthcare delivery using a team approach for more positive healthcare outcomes. It's one of the few specific projects identified by line item in the budget, as budgets generally stick to national programs.
On deficit reduction, the books will be balancedin 2015 as promised. Fiscal balance is as important to Canada's economy in the medium and long-term as investing in innovation. We were ahead of forecast in reducing the deficit this year and I hope that continues to be the case in the next few years.
I was particularly pleased to see additional red tape reductions and further support for small business in this budget. This is something that I’ve have always advocated. This includes an extension of the hiring credit for small business – up to $1000 – and a doubling of the threshold for use of the quick method in calculating the annual HST return. This administrative change saves small businesses time and money that they can better use on what they do best.
Supporting innovation is another area that I have long advocated. We've seen the results first-hand in recent federal programs at McMaster and Mohawk that help technology, medicine and social sciences innovators. I'm happy to see this continue and expand as we take innovations from the lab to the marketpace. That's why this federal budget acts on the Jenkins Report -- providing $1.1 billion for direct R&D, plus $500 million for venture capital.
For a budget focused on jobs and long-term prosperity, this makes good sense.
For the full details of Budget 2012, please visit: http://www.budget.gc.ca/2012/home-accueil-eng.html.