OTTAWA– The Conservative government must use Budget 2013 to create the conditions for Canadians’ economic success and prosperity, said Liberal Leader Bob Rae today.
“Under the Harper Conservatives, Canada has averaged the worst seven years of economic growth since the end of the Second World War, and Canadians have been needlessly hit with deep cuts to services,” said Mr. Rae. “Canadians have had enough of being forced to foot the bill for this government’s poor economic management. It is time the Conservatives start setting, and working towards, real and achievable targets that will begin to restore some of the confidence lost during the recent recession.”
In a response to a request for advice from Finance Minister Jim Flaherty on the upcoming Budget, Mr. Rae and the Liberals called for tangible measures to be taken. These include the establishment of an arm’s length legal advisory committee to consider all draft government legislation before it is tabled to ensure that First Nations have been consulted, and the abandonment of the government’s planned 2014 Employment Insurance premium hike. Mr. Rae also recommended several “non-spending” initiatives to improve Canada’s economic growth, including setting the goals of: reaching an unemployment rate of 6.5 per cent in the next year; returning Canada (currently 17th) to one of the top 10 destinations for international travel by 2015; and working with First Nations to bring on-reserve high school graduation rates up to the national average.
“Our ability to pay for vital social programs like healthcare depends on our economy doing much better than it has been under this government,” said Mr. Rae. “If we want to avoid making this tepid economic growth our ‘new normal’, we must take these sensible steps now to increase Canada’s job creation and competitiveness.”
A copy of Mr. Rae’s letter to the Minister is available here.