The Federal Budget was finally released Tuesday afternoon by Finance Minister Joe Oliver after being delayed from February due to economic uncertainty around the plunge in oil prices.
Canada has not seen issued a balanced budget since 2007, just before the 2008 economic recession, but Oliver has once again delivered a balanced book, his first as Finance Minister.
“Best first budget ever by a Finance Minister,” said Prime Minister Stephen Harper as he and Oliver entered the House of Commons.
Many are calling today ‘Day 1’ of the Prime Minister’s 2015 federal election campaign and criticize the budget as a campaign document and an election ploy.
The budget back-loads much of its spending promises to later dates, virtually telling Canadians that if they elect the Conservatives, they will receive the outcomes of those promises.
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau says if elected, he would reverse the doubling of the TFSA, saying that it, along with most of Harper’s budget, only serves the wealthiest Canadians.
There is also criticism around how the Conservatives were able to achieve the budget surplus. The budget includes a cut from the contingency fund used for national emergencies from $3 billion down to $1 billion.
But the Conservatives are proud of reducing the federal deficit from $55.6 billion at the height of the economic recession to a current surplus of $1.4 billion. They also say they will be introducing balanced-budget legislation that will “enshrine in law its prudent approach to fiscal planning.”
“Economic Action Plan 2015 will create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. It is a balanced budget, just as we promised, and it cuts taxes for hard-working individuals and families. It is a prudent and principled plan that will see Canadians more prosperous, more secure, and even more confident in our country’s place in the world. Canadians can rest assured that under the strong leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Canada’s fiscal house is in order,” said Finance Minister Joe Oliver in a statement.