The budget designed to drive us out of recession likely isn’t enough, but it’s not all bad, according to a panel of experts speaking yesterday in Halifax.
Four economic experts at an Atlantic Provinces Economic Council (APEC)?gathering gave the recent federal budget and its stimulus plan a C+ to B- rating in overall effectiveness.
Lars Osberg, chair of the economics department at Dalhousie University, compared the Conservative party’s stimulus reversal to a student failing and then writing a makeup test.
“Often, those makeup exams are improved, but they’re not that much improved. You’ve still got the same student writing it,” he said.
The panellists expressed doubt that there was enough stimulus money in the budget to combat the recession.
Other critiques ranged from the budget failing to address Atlantic Canada’s specific demands to not investing enough in converting to green energy.
But Osberg also emphasized the opportunities to fix items that should have been fixed long ago. Alongside environmental issues, he also mentioned investing in deferred maintenance that had been put off.
APEC president Elizabeth Beale said she would have liked to see more emphasis on EI reform and cash transfers to individuals. She said many Nova Scotians are falling through the cracks, such as people who flew out West for work and are now losing their jobs.
She expressed doubt the stimulus package would be able to help those people.
“There’s a recognition by the federal government that it needs to spend in the current recession,” she said.
“There’s big questions about whether the overall pool of money is going to be adequate to offer that stimulus to pull us out. And there’s big questions about the way it’s being delivered.”