Here is a list of experts (government spending, defence, women’s equality, mortgages) who can talk about various aspects of Thursday’s federal budget.
GOVERNMENT SPENDING — ANDREW GRAHAM
School of Policy Studies professor Andrew Graham is a government spending expert. He has published Canada’s only textbook on public sector financial management. He also served as assistant deputy minister with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (1996-2000).
“Now that Stephen Harper has a majority government, he can make the hard decisions necessary to bring down the deficit. You have to do this by taking a balanced approach. You can’t just cut bureaucracy to get to those numbers. You have to look at everything including increasing the cost of some services, getting rid of whole programs, rethinking how governments organize themselves and, yes, in my view, taxes,” says Professor Graham. “Bureaucracy is only a small percentage of what a government spends. I don’t think bureaucracies are inefficient. During the recessions, it was the auto companies and U.S. banks that got the bailouts. That doesn’t mean they can’t get better and save money.”
DEFENCE ISSUES – CHRISTIAN LEUPRECHT
Christian Leuprecht teaches political studies at both Queen’s University and Royal Military College and is available to talk about any defence-related issues.
“If there are defence cuts, they will probably come in two areas: civilian employees and operations/maintenance. The result will likely be a ‘trimmed’ Department of National Defence. I don’t expect any cuts to military personnel, and no cuts to major procurement per se (such as the F-35),” says Dr. Leuprecht.
GENDER BASED POLICY ANALYSIS – KATHY LAHEY
Queen's University law professor Kathy Lahey is able to discuss gender equality issues related to the federal budget. Professor Lahey recently gave expert testimony on the economic status of women in Canada with the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women and spoke to the same points during United Nations Commission on the Status of Women conference. She will be addressing the upcoming federal budget at the Fair Tax Commission conference in Ottawa on Thursday and Friday.
“The federal budget stands out as the number one place where gender-based analysis absolutely should be done because it involves the distribution of the single largest pot of money that will be assembled in the public sector in Canada. This federal budget is crucial because it is the first one that will have been prepared by a government that has had a majority now for some period of time," says Professor Lahey. "While under the stewardship of the Conservative government, Canada has fallen dramatically in all of the gender equality and inequality indices that are published by international organizations, signaling that something is very wrong with both sex equality and general social equality in Canada."
Please note Professor Lahey will be in Ottawa on Thursday and Friday.
MORTGAGES AND HOME OWNERSHIP – LOUIS GAGNON
It is expected that the federal government is going to make it harder for Canadians to qualify for a mortgage by bumping up the down payment from 5 to 10 percent and/or reducing the maximum amortization period from 30 to 25 years. Finance professor Louis Gagnon is hoping the government makes an announcement on Thursday.
“Something has to be done to slow down Canada’s hot housing market and prevent a U.S.-style housing crash. Interest rates are poised to rise sooner than previously anticipated so the government should try to stop people from buying homes they will not be able to afford two to three years from now,” says Dr. Gagnon.
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