|Stephen Harper, Prime Minister|
Your home budget is fairly straight forward. You have an income source, you have to pay for housing, food, transportation, entertainment and health. Sometimes you need to finance to meet your needs. It could be a mortgage on the house, a car loan, using the credit card or borrow from a friend for unexpected costs or for that special event. As long as you have the same or better level of income, you can make your payments. You know what you can afford to pay.
The federal government is required to do the same. They project the revenue they will raise from us, then tell us how they will spend it. At least that is the way it use to work. Governments assign money to different envelopes (some of you still do this. Put money in the rent, mortgage or food envelope). The MP's then vote on the budget after debating each envelope in estimates. The envelopes are bi
g, Health, Indian affairs, Defense, Transportation, etc, you get the idea.
To vote, MPs have to make an informed vote. They need to know where the money will be spent. They can vote to agree, modify or defeat the spending. This no longer happens. Budgets provide very little detail, they are passed purely on partisan positions.
|Thomas Mulcair, Opposition Leader|
Once the budget is passed in Parliament, the government has authority to raise the money and then spend it. Over the course of the year the government has keep the MPs informed as to how they are doing. That's where things are falling down again. This government often spends money in areas that were not approved. Most of us recall the money approved for border security to fund projects in the Treasury Board President's (Tony Clement) riding.
We only find out how money was spent after the fact, even misappropriated spending. MPs have lost the most important power they once held, the purse strings. It's one thing to have a majority governments MPs support a budget, its another for those MPs to turn their backs on the governments failure to show us exactly where the money is going and how much was spent.
The current government, encouraged by the trend of previous governments, has absolved itself of being accountable.