Treasury Board president Stockwell Day is preparing the country for years of spending restraint to bring the deficit to heel, and says the March 4 federal budget will begin mapping the return to balanced books.
The Conservative government will use the budget to launch a spending review process that will identify expenditures to be cut back in future years.
Mr. Day, appointed this week to be the champion of restraint in the Harper government, said it will take years of spending scrutiny to make all the reductions necessary to balance the budget.
“This is not a one-year road. This is going to be a journey of a few years along this roadway and we will map it out each step of the way,” he said in an interview.
“It's a challenging process. It's not going to be easy.”
The Tories have promised to balance the books without raising taxes. This will mean spending cuts that could eventually include everything from shrinking the Canadian public service to chopping grants to businesses or non-profit groups. Ottawa's deficit-financed stimulus spending won't end until 2011, which is when the Tories are expected to start expenditure cuts.
John Manley, a former Liberal finance minister and the new head of a group representing 150 leading CEOs, warned on Wednesday that Ottawa's deficit-reduction plan doesn't add up. Mr. Manley, president of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, said spending cuts alone are unlikely to do the job. He predicted the government will have to consider new user fees or even a GST hike if economic growth remains low. Source...