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Budget 'moderate' and focused on the West: MacKinnon

Tags: Budget 2012

The Conservative government tabled its 2012 budget on Thursday, laying the groundwork to cut $5.2 billion annually in program spending -- a lower figure than many had anticipated. Janice MacKinnon, Chair of Flaherty's Economic Advisory Council, tells BNN the budget was "moderate" and focuses on growing economies in Western Canada.

"[The budget] had to be moderate in light of the circumstances," she says. "There were people pressing for bigger, harsher cuts to government spending…but even the International Monetary Fund said they should balance the budget over the medium term, but be careful not to cut too deeply because the world economy is still fragile."

MacKinnon says the budget is really a catalyst for the country's booming economies in the West.

"[The budget] means a lot for Western Canada. A lot of the measures in there were directed at the idea that engine of the economy now is in Western Canada and the problems it is facing," she says.

She says immigration, unemployment benefits and education reforms were all intended to solve labour shortages in the West, which she calls the region's biggest obstacle to stronger economic growth.

For full budget coverage click here CTV Two CTV News CTV News Channel BNN - Business News Network CP24