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So you wanna be finance minister? Try balancing Ottawa's books Add to ...

Think you know what it takes to balance a budget? The Tories set out their plans to get back to black in Thursday's federal budget. If you were in charge, what would you cut to get our finances in order? Would you raise taxes, cut foreign aid, trim transfers? It's a painful process and to give you an idea of how hard it is, here's a selection of notable options below. It's not meant to be comprehensive, but spend some time nipping and snipping here and there and it'll give you an idea of how tough digging out of deficit can be. Make your plan to slash the deficit and share it with your friends and family.

See what the Tories actually cut.


Select options to reduce the deficit below:

Click on the boxes to add the changes you would like to see implemented. Click again to remove options.

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* Deficit estimate of $25-billion is based on recent private sector estimates for the 2011-2012 fiscal year using the Department of Finance fiscal reports for 2011.

1For OAS/GIS, there are currently 4,973,438 Canadians age 65+. Of those, 660,551 Canadians are ages 65 and 66 (13.3% of the total). If all seniors got the exact same OAS/GIS cheque, that would represent a savings of 13.3% of total OAS costs. However, because of the clawback and the fact that older people get more GIS, an estimate of 10-12% of today's OAS/GIS costs ($39B according to Service Canada) was used.
2Calculation provided by Stephen Gordon of Laval University. This is a static calculation which assumes no behavioural response to new taxation. Read more in "Taxing the rich may be fair, but it won't fill the coffers".
3Source: Report to Parliament on the Government of Canada's Official Development Assistance (Page 2).
4Source: The Government Expenditure Plan and The Main Estimates (Page 71).
5University of British Columbia economist Kevin Milligan explains how TFSA's could eventually cost the government billions in lost tax revenue in "How TFSA expansion will hit future tax revenues".

Where not otherwise specified, figures have been taken from the Department of Finance (Document 1) (Document 2), Parliamentary Budget Office, Public Accounts of Canada and Treasury Board estimates.

Special thanks to Stephen Gordon, Laval University, Kevin Milligan, University of British Columbia and Frances Woolley, Carleton University, for their help in compiling GST, income tax and OAS figures.

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