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No major spending, cuts in federal throne speech

After a controversial two-month parliamentary shutdown to “recalibrate”its agenda, the Conservative government laid out an austerity plan forthe country in yesterday’s throne speech in a bid to chop the record$56-billion deficit.

Say goodbye to Canada’s big-spending glory days.

After a controversial two-month parliamentary shutdown to “recalibrate” its agenda, the Conservative government laid out an austerity plan for the country in yesterday’s throne speech in a bid to chop the record $56-billion deficit.

The government said it will restore the country’s “fiscal balance” by restraining spending, starting with a proposed symbolic freeze on lofty MP salaries.

Despite the recalibration, there are no major new initiatives and no plans for huge spending cuts — and none of the big spending of past budgets.

As expected, the Tories confirmed that the last $19 billion from the big-money, recession-fighting stimulus fund will be doled out next fiscal year, and then the taps are off for good.

The government is replacing cash-heavy programs with other measures, such as: Loosening foreign investment rules, cutting environmental red tape, and increasing the child-support payment for single-parent families. Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff called the speech “regurgitation” rather than recalibration.

“They shut down Parliament for this?” he asked. “Is this the result of prorogation? There is no vision for the future of our country. It’s just a collection of old announcements.”

He said the lack of new direction is a sign of “a tired government.”

Immediately after the throne speech, Ignatieff proposed a motion to establish a special committee to “advise the House on the circumstances in which it is appropriate for the prime minister to request that Parliament be prorogued.”

NDP Leader Jack Layton said the speech falls short in several areas, including no plan to create jobs or fight climate change.

“They say that the climate-change issue is the most important issue facing us but then they don’t outline any sort of a plan,” he said. “You’d think they could have come up with something better than this.”


 
 
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