OTTAWA, Ont. – The Federal Budget, unveiled on Thursday, is being criticized for what’s missing from the document.
During a post-budget discussion with political writers from Maclean’s Magazine, most agreed that the government does not break down which services and departments will be impacted.
“We just don’t know how it’s going to be accomplished,” said Maclean’s Ottawa bureau chief John Geddes.
“Defence appears as a word 34 times in the budget, but there is no indication of how much this government wants to spend on national defence next year,” the magazine’s editor Paul Wells said, Friday.
“It used to be unthinkable that that information wouldn’t be in the budget. This government is very selective about what it tells Canadians,” he added, saying it’s frustrating because Canadians will have to wait for the numbers to trickle out piece by piece over the next 12 months.
Geddes explained that the political element is the bigger focus these days, while the actual numbers are hard to come by. “I don’t want to sound like I’m nostalgic for the old days of budget making, but there was a kind of clarity there and a simplicity that we don’t see any more.”
Wells, meanwhile, said that a lot of the governments main revenue sources are based solely on assumptions, and should they not go as planned, the Conservatives would have to extend the 2015 deadline for balancing the books, or make severe cuts in the 2014 budget to make that target.
Direct program spending is going to drop by approximately $4-billion in the new budget. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty maintains that the books will be balanced in two years.