Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Not Enough Cookies in the Jar

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Not Enough Cookies in the Jar

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Not enough cookies in the jar

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An editorial from the New Glasgow News, published Jan. 14:

Governments do sometimes change course when it comes to promises, although it's not good in the "optics" department.

With increasingly dire reports on the price of oil, attention is turning to the financial ramifications for those depending on it for revenues. Federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver assured Canadians just days ago that everything is on track for a balanced budget in the coming fiscal year.

Economists, however, aren't so sure. The Bank of Canada said low oil prices put Canada's economy at risk and TD Bank warned the slide could mean a deficit for 2015-16.

The change in fortune is bound to have many repeating their skepticism over the federal government's pledge to introduce income splitting for certain families.

The criticism is that those who benefit are families with children, with one breadwinner or one parent earning significantly more than the other. It tends to favour families of higher income, rather than, for example, single-parent households or those scraping by on two lower-than-average incomes.

The Conservatives themselves number among the few who claim this measure is of wide benefit.

Even if some might argue that tax relief at this point would be beneficial to families in general and to the economy, it should be aimed at everyone, not tailored to one particular demographic.

Should the lower oil prices persist, cutting into revenues, it will be interesting to see how it plays out on the federal government's agenda. It wouldn't be the first time a government had to rethink such a promise. Nova Scotians just over a decade ago under John Hamm's government saw a pledged tax cut withdrawn because it was no longer feasible.

But governments really hate having to eat crow - leaving the feds in a delicate position.

Would they continue with the plan if it means a deficit for 2015-16? Or might they claim that all is still financially sound and hope for better financial rewards the following year? …

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