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Opinion  

We're OK with cautious approach

A cautiously optimistic tone was probably the right one for Minister of National Revenue Kerry-Lynne Findlay to take during her pre-budget consultation tour stop in Kelowna.

Critics are bashing the governing Tories for delaying the federal budget until April, saying it’s a political move. Well, of course it is. But it’s also a prudent move, considering the effect falling oil prices are having on federal tax revenues.

“We remain confident we will balance the budget as promised,” she said. “We will have less flexibility, but we remain confident.”

It’s things like balanced budgets and a small-c conservative approach to spending that have helped Canada lead the West in economic performance during the shaky years following 2008’s global financial meltdown.

Waiting a couple of months to readjust projections and see where oil prices go just make sense. Opposition parties that say otherwise would be the first to jump all over the Tories if they forged ahead without taking stock of the situation.

Falling oil is not all bad news, Findlay pointed out. Manufacturing and exporting are benefitting from reduced costs and the corresponding fall in the value of the Canadian dollar.

Meanwhile, Findlay teased the feds’ new Family Tax Plan, which will leave more money in your pocket.

The average Canadian family will see about a $1,140 benefit when they do their taxes next month.

The moves include increased tax relief for parents, such as $2,000 for each household with children under 18, a universal child tax benefit increase of $60 per month per child under six, and a new $60 a month universal benefit per child six to 17. Meanwhile, the child activity tax credit increases from $200 to $1,000 a year and new income-splitting rules will save working couples money.

The federal tax burden is at its lowest level in 50 years, Findlay emphasized.

Cautious but prudent measures like these will not only save Canadians money, but position the country to weather the passing storm of cyclical oil prices. How low will they go? Nobody knows. But abruptly changing direction on Canada’s stable economic course would be about the worst thing Ottawa could do right now.

— News Director Jon Manchester

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