OTTAWA – Tuesday’s federal budget left a handful of Canadians with modest smiles and a lot of others with big frowns. Here’s a brief roster of stakeholders mentioned in Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s fiscal blueprint and their likely facial expressions:
— Low-income veterans and their families, who saw another $108 million put into a fund to help cover funeral costs;
— Veterans released from the military for medical reasons, because they get a hiring priority for public service jobs;
— Adoptive families, who get a higher tax credit for adoption costs;
— World-class amateur athletes, who get a break on their available RRSP room;
— Search and rescue volunteers, who get a tax credit similar to the one extended to volunteer firefighters in 2011;
— Students with cars who are seeking Canada Student Loans; the value of their vehicles will no longer affect their “needs assessment”;
— The Conservative base of support, because the budget is on the verge of balance and is forecast to be in surplus in 2015.
— Smokers, who will see the excise duty on tobacco rise by $4 for a carton of 200 cigarettes;
— The Canadian Forces, their $3.1 billion in spending plans shoved into the future;
— Retired public servants, whose retirement health-plan costs are poised to double;
— Working public servants, who have been placed on notice that the road to a budget surplus runs through a pay freeze.