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Article written by Boris Bozic on the 14 Feb 2014 in Canada

To the governments credit, they have invested time to learn about the “smaller” players in the financial space, and have committed to learn more about their needs and to balance the playing field.

The 2014 budget is a prologue to what really matters to the Fed’s – the 2015 Federal Budget.  Canadians are about 15 months away from the next federal election. Time flies when you’re having fun, and the 2015 budget will lay the groundwork for the next campaign.  When the next budget comes down we will all hear about a surplus rather than the deficit.  There will be a lot of chest bumping among the Conservatives about the estimated $6 billion surplus in 2015/2016, and over $10 billion by 2018/2019.  The message will be clear, “we’re the fiscally responsible ones, and the only party qualified to justify over taxation”. Maybe they’ll omit that last part, but please, I wish they would stop making it sound like the government is a corporation that went and earned a $6 billion profit… I feel better now.

Image Source: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean KilpatrickIf

The Federal Budget is first and foremost, politics.  It’s an extension of ideology, and in an election year, a party platform.  Early in a mandate, the governing party may deviate to do what’s right.  But the last budget going into an election year is about drawing lines in the sand, and establishing the battle ground.  The Federal Budget preceding the budget that really matters? Yawn. In that regard the 2014 budget did not disappoint.

There are some elements of the budget which we have all come to expect, especially if the government is looking for cover – example, smokers.  I don’t know why the government doesn’t amend our constitution that smokers must pay more, every year.  Smokers will now pay 24% more in taxes for a carton of cigarettes.  Another automatic is to take away some money from the evil wealthy people.   Loopholes are now plugged for wealthy Canadians and their family trusts.  Those are two safe groups to go after, and let’s face it, when was the last time you saw a headline which read, “Poor Smokers” or “Government takes too much from the wealthy?”  Nice and safe.

It was encouraging to hear comments made by the Minister of Finance about smaller banks and monolines in Canada.  To the governments credit they have invested time to learn about the “smaller” players in the financial space, and have committed to learn more about their needs and to balance the playing field. How that all shakes out? Time we’ll tell, but at least they know we’re here and we provide consumers choice, beyond the big banks.

For now, it’s steady as she goes, and we only have 364 more sleeps before we get a budget that we can sink our teeth into.  To help us pass the time we can visit the brewer’s retail and liquor store.  The government is removing some of the red tape to make it easier for more brands of beer to come to market.  This should help some of the smaller brewers in this country.  Maybe the Fed’s jumped the gun on this one and they should have waited until next year.  Think of the campaign slogan, “More Beer”…Um, nice and yummy.

Until next time,



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