Media advisory - Smart spending, not just big spending, is what Canadians need, says Wellesley Institute



    TORONTO, Jan. 27 /CNW/ - Federal budget 2009 adds big dollars to federal
spending, but fails to target those investments at the Canadians who are
suffering the most in the current economic recession, according to the
Wellesley Institute, an independent research and policy institute. "The
federal government deserves credit for boosting spending to meet Canada's
economic, health and social challenges," says Rick Blickstead, CEO of the
Wellesley Institute. "But it's not just big spending that counts, it's smart
spending. A bit here and something there don't add up to an effective and
comprehensive plan to build a strong, healthy and equitable economy." The
federal budget fails to meet a number of economic, social and health
priorities:

    
    -   For the three million households precariously housed, today's federal
        budget delivers $2 billion. This is far less than the $5 billion-plus
        being offered to wealthier Canadians who already own homes and
        cottages and want to build a new deck or pave their driveway.

    -   Wellesley Institute research shows that every $1,000 increase in
        household income for the lowest-income Canadians delivers substantial
        health benefits. Today's federal budget fails to put real dollars in
        the pockets of the poorest Canadians. Adding benefits for people
        already receiving Employment Insurance doesn't help the six out of
        ten unemployed who can't even get an EI cheque because of overly
        strict regulations.

    -   The third sector - non-profit, charitable and voluntary organizations
        - is a big part of the Canadian economy, generating tens of billions
        of dollars in economic activity. For years, the government has taken
        the third sector for granted, and today's budget continues that
        pattern of neglect. Third sector groups are on the frontlines in
        providing practical support to the victims of the economic crisis,
        but they won't get any help from the 2009 budget.

    -   Canadians place a high value on our national health care system, and
        we need to continue to fund innovative and cost-effective health
        solutions like an expanded national network of community health
        centres. Today's budget delivers nothing to expand our health care
        system.

    -   Transit and other municipal infrastructure spending would provide
        powerful economic stimulus, and strengthen communities, but federal
        budget 2009 falls far short of the needs set out by municipalities.
        And the new program rules and cost-sharing requirements will further
        restrict any benefit. Asking cash-strapped municipalities to go
        further into debt to access federal dollars won't help renew local
        social and physical infrastructure.
    

    The Wellesley Institute will publish a more detailed budget analysis  on
its web site at www.wellesleyinstitute.com





For further information:

For further information: Michael Shapcott, Wellesley Institute, (416)
972-1010, x231, (416) 605-8316

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The Wellesley Institute

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FEDERAL BUDGET 2009

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