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2013-2014 Federal Budget Analysis

Release date: March 22, 2013

As a think tank dedicated to improving the long-term prosperity of western Canada, the Canada West Foundation is paying close attention to the signals being sent by the region’s provincial governments and the federal government in their 2013/14 budgets.

On March 19, the Foundation laid out four areas we hoped to see in the federal budget in our budget preview.

The 2013/14 Budget Analysis assesses the degree to which progress is being made in these areas and presents five key findings:

  • Without admitting it outright, the federal government has produced a budget with a strong focus on increasing productivity in Canada.
  • There is a significant, stable and long-term commitment to investing in public infrastructure across Canada. This should be applauded.
  • The budget rightly places a significant emphasis on skills training and better matching Canadians with available jobs. However, there was no significant commitment of new money to this goal and important questions remain about implementation.
  • No new action was taken to address concerns about public confidence in pipelines and resource projects, although the proposed marine safety initiatives announced days before the budget was released are a welcome step.
  • Trade and investment remains a stated government priority, but the budget contained few initiatives in this area.

Initiatives set out in the federal budget contain an additional layer of complexity for western Canada. As the four provinces vary considerably, new initiatives announced in the federal budget are bound to have differing effects across the West.

Author: Michael Holden