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Canada’s Plan To Balance Its Budget By 2015

A man's dress shoe
A man's Oxford dress shoe. Image: Kan8edie

Last week Canada’s Finance Minister, Jim Flaherty, spent $138.98 on a new pair of black dress shoes. Why? Because he was announcing a new budget.

In this case, a budget is a document that tells how Canada will allocate (in other words, spend) its money.

Flaherty is in charge of presenting Canada’s budget, which is why he bought the new shoes.

What does a budget have to do with new shoes?
It’s a tradition in Canada that the Finance Minister wears new shoes to present the budget. According to Wikipedia no one really knows why, but it’s something most Canadian Finance Ministers have done since the 1960s. It’s a tradition.

This year, the federal government structured its budget to reduce Canada’s annual deficit to zero by 2015.

A deficit happens when a government spends more than it collects in a year.

There are two ways to reduce a deficit: bring more money in, mostly from income tax, sales and business taxes—or cut spending.

In this case, the government chose not to raise taxes. Instead, it has decided to cut spending.

Some ways this year’s budget will cut spending are:

-decreasing the number of federal government jobs by 19,200;

-lowering or not adding funding for the military or international aid; and

-decreasing funding for the country’s national broadcaster, the CBC.

Another cost-saving item in the budget had to do with the Canadian penny. The government said that pennies cost too much money to make, so they are phasing them out. Flaherty said pennies actually cost 1.6 cents to make. It also costs money to store, transport and handle pennies, he said. Getting rid of them will save the government about $11-million a year.

The budget also included plans to help some projects the government feels are important, like protecting at-risk wildlife, building and renovating schools in First Nations communities and increasing money for small- and medium-sized companies to produce new products and services.

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
A tradition is something you do or believe. Traditions are often passed down to you from your family or culture. Many holidays, such as Thanksgiving, Passover and Eid, include traditions.

Does your family have any traditions? For example, do you wear special clothing or colours on certain holidays? Do you eat specific foods on important days? Do you sing special songs as part of your traditions?

Think about some of your traditions. What makes them so special?

Reading Prompt: Making Inferences/Interpreting Texts
According to Wikipedia, nobody knows why the Canadian Finance Minister wears news shoes when sharing a new budget.
What do you think? Why do you think this tradition was started in the first place?

Make inferences about texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts as evidence (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Use stated and implied ideas in texts to make inferences and construct meaning (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Develop and explain interpretations of increasingly complex or difficult texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts to support their interpretations (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Grammar Feature: Possessive Apostrophe
One of the ways that an apostrophe is used is to show ownership or belonging. In this article, a possessive apostrophe is used in the title: “Canada’s Plan To Balance Its Budget By 2015.” An apostrophe is used after the word “Canada” to show that the plan belongs to Canada.

Find all of the other times that apostrophes are used in this article. When are they used in a possessive way? What other ways are apostrophes used in this article?