After a decade of shortchanging Canadians, the Chretien government is going on a spree, with nearly $9 billion in new spending, the kind of budget not seen since the Liberal heydays of the early 1980s.
The budget lauds Canada's enviable economic record for the increased spending, predicting growth of 3.5% next year. Billing itself as the "Northern Tiger," Canada is the only G7 country predicting a surplus over the next year.
Some new spending, such as an extra $35 billion in health care funds over the next five years, was already known. But other program spending, such as $470 million for agriculture, caught many people flat-footed.
And despite an $800 million infusion of cash, the increase in military funding fell far short of expectations amid the countdown to war in Iraq. Business leaders say the budget could have done much more to stimulate the economy by lowering taxes. "It was a missed opportunity," said Thomas D'Aquino, head of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives. Source.