Finance Minister Jim Flaherty delivered a 2014 budget that calls for another deficit this year before a healthy surplus in 2015.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty delivered a 2014 budget that calls for another deficit this year before a healthy surplus in 2015.

Federal budget hikes tobacco tax, sets up surplus

Bitcoin, Canada-U.S. consumer price gap targeted by Tories in 'boring' 2014 budget

A new search-and-rescue tax credit honouring “quiet heroes” like revered North Shore rescue leader Tim Jones who died last month is among the measures unveiled by the federal government Tuesday as part of the 2014 budget.

Eligible ground, air and marine search-and-rescue volunteers will be able to claim a 15 per cent non-refundable credit on up to $3,000 if they perform at least 200 hours of service a year.

It’s largely a stand-pat budget that modestly shrinks overall federal spending, records a $2.9-billion deficit this year and sets up a projected $6.4-billion surplus in 2015 when the the Conservatives are expected to seek re-election.

Federal finance minister Jim Flaherty conceded some may see the budget as “boring” but added he takes that as a compliment.

There are no notable tax cuts, but the the tobacco tax is going up, adding $4 to the price of a carton of cigarettes or about 40 cents to a $10 pack. That will generate $685 million extra per year, while more than $90 million over five years will help the RCMP battle tobacco smuggling.

The Harper government released few details in the budget on what it will do next on two fronts of concern to consumers – its past promises to inject competition into the mobile phone market and to reduce the temptation of cross-border shopping.

Flaherty said Ottawa will temporarily cap domestic wireless roaming rates until there’s a decision by regulators on further rules to protect customers.

He also pledged legislation to address the price gap between cheaper consumer products in the U.S. and what Canadians pay at home.

How that will work is unclear, but the minister told reporters the Competition Bureau would be empowered to investigate and punish unjustifiable price discrimination.

“When Canadian families spend their hard-earned money, they should be confident that they are being treated fairly in a competitive marketplace,” he said in the budget speech.

Ottawa reduced tariffs on baby clothes and some sports equipment last year, but is still assessing whether retailers actually passed those savings along to customers.

Flaherty also pledged $1.5 billion over 10 years for post-secondary research and innovation in areas that create long-term economic growth.

Job training continued to be a major theme, as the Tories seek ways to fix the skills mismatch between what the unemployed can do and what employers need.

Flaherty said the contentious $300-million-a-year Canada Job Grant program will roll out April 1, regardless of whether provinces and territories agree to participate.

In law-and-order policy measures, the government signalled it will regulate the use of Bitcoin virtual currency to thwart its criminal use for money laundering or financing terrorism. It also pledged to create a DNA-based missing persons index.

Savings in the budget are to largely come from charging federal retirees more for health benefits and through a freeze on departmental spending.

Canadian Taxpayers Federation director Greg Thomas said this year’s budget may turn out to be balanced already since Flaherty inserted a $3-billion “revenue adjustment for risk” provision that gives padding that may not be used.

He noted Ottawa is forecasting $30 billion in cumulative surpluses over the next five years, setting the stage for promised tax cuts starting next year.

Federal government budget video

Just Posted

Jacqueline Pearce and Jean-Pierre Antonio received the BC Historical Federation Best Article Award on Saturday for their story about translating haiku written in the Tashme internment camp.
Article chronicling haiku in Japanese internment camp near Hope wins award

Tashme Haiku Club’s work was preserved and recently translated, authors write

Kindergarten kids from Evans elementary school in Chilliwack painted rocks with orange hearts and delivered them to Sto:lo Elders Lodge recently after learning about residential schools. (Laura Bridge photo)
Kindergarten class paints rocks with orange hearts in Chilliwack for local elders

‘Compassion and empathy’ being shown by kids learning about residential schools

Chilliwack potter Cathy Terepocki (left) and Indigenous enhancement teachers Val Tosoff (striped top) and Christine Seymour (fuchsia coat), along with students at Vedder middle school, look at some of the 500-plus pinch pots on Thursday, June 10 made by the kids to honour the 215 children found at Kamloops Indian Residential School. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack students make hundreds of tiny clay pots in honour of 215 Indigenous children

‘I think the healing process has begun,’ says teacher about Vedder middle school project

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
Webinar looks at sexual abuse prevention among adolescents

Vancouver/Fraser Valley CoSA hosts free online session on June 15

Emergency services were on the scene of an apparent stabbing Friday afternoon (June 11) in the 2400 block of Countess Street in Abbotsford. (Photo: Kaytlin Harrison)
Two suspects arrested after apparent stabbing in Abbotsford

Incident occurs Friday afternoon in 2400 block of Countess Street

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read