Community Economic Development Organizations: Harper’s ‘Prudent’ Budget Neglects Communities in Need

February 28, 2008


Community Economic Development Organizations:
Harper’s ‘Prudent’ Budget Neglects Communities in Need

Victoria, BRITISH COLUMBIA – The federal budget announcement released yesterday afternoon offers little to assist Canada’s poorest communities, say members of the Canadian Community Economic Development Network. CCEDNet – representing the interests of thousands of community economic development organizations – believes the ‘prudent’ measures outlined in the federal budget do not take into consideration the immediate needs of Canada’s poor.

“When you have 2.8 million families living below the poverty line, claiming that a prudent budget reflects reality is unreasonable,” says CCEDNet’s Executive Director, Rupert Downing. “The reality is that people in need can’t afford to be patient, they need a government that will take action to make changes that actually alleviates suffering, not prolongs it.”

Echoing concerns from other community development leaders, CCEDNet states that while they welcome any investment in communities – including the Community Development Trust Announcement – they are concerned that the amount of money pledged is not enough to deal with the crisis facing many communities.

“Once again, we see a federal budget more focused on retaining capital than the more pressing issue of investing in Canadian communities,” says Richard Chamberlain, Finance Director of the Canadian Community Economic Development Network. “The Tax-Free Savings Account does nothing to help Canadians save money. At top marginal tax rates, the tax payable on a $5,000 investment with a 10% return would only mean a $250 savings even for those who can afford to save the maximum amount. For those who can’t save the maximum, the savings would basically be negligible.”

In its pre-budget submission to the federal government, CCEDNet recommended that a portion of tax revenue be used to invest in communities to reduce poverty, increase self-sufficiency, and generate aggregate benefits to ensure Canadian prosperity and productivity. The cutting of corporate tax rates undermines the government’s ability to make these investments.

Community economic development has a long history of success in revitalizing communities across Canada through locally-led action engaging a diverse cross-section of community members. Its combined values of inclusiveness, sustainability and reciprocity ensure that economic change is long-lasting for struggling communities.

“It’s time that the federal government took investing in communities seriously” says Mr. Downing. “Advantage Canada? Certainly not for those Canadians who need an advantage the most.”

The Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNet) is a national non-governmental charitable organization established to support the work of community organizations that are creating economic opportunities and enhancing social conditions in Canada. The membership of CCEDNet is made up of hundreds of community groups, municipalities, foundations, and practitioners from every region of the country. CCEDNet brings these groups together to share expertise, mobilize communities, and build a national focus on CED.

Community Economic Development (CED) is action by people locally to create economic opportunities and better social conditions, particularly for those who are most disadvantaged. CCEDNet’s national office is located in Victoria, BC.

For more information, please contact Erin Brocklebank, Communications Coordinator, (250) 386-9980 ext.106.