If there is one priority for the budget, it should be to look beyond the immediate fiscal issues and set a clear direction to a new economy based upon high productivity and environmental sustainability.
The Harper government’s single-minded focus on unprocessed resource extraction for export as the key driver of growth is closely related to the loss of manufacturing jobs, our high trade deficit, continued very high unemployment, growing regional tensions, the continued marginalization of First Nations; and Canada’s failure to deal with the urgent challenge of global climate change.
The Budget should support innovation, especially in clean energy and energy conservation; invest in skills development, especially for youth, the unemployed and First Nations; and make long-term investments in public transit and urban environmental infrastructure. These kinds of investments would create more and better jobs today, and a stronger and more sustainable economy tomorrow.
This article originally appeared in the Globe and Mail's Report on Business on March 21st 2013.