With its Canada Job Grant, new Building Canada plan and incentives for manufacturers to re-invest, the federal Conservative government is hoping to prime the pump for full-scale economic recovery.
In his budget speech on Thursday, Canada's Finance Minister Jim Flaherty reiterated his recovery refrain - "the global economy is still fragile" - while reaching into a toolbox of measures to invigorate business and investment.
A cornerstone is the Building Canada Fund - $14 billion over 10 years for infrastructure renewal. There are also incentives for taxpayers, some tax hikes and specific measures to close tax loopholes.
At the same time, Flaherty remains committed to balancing the books by 2015, a key Tory goal in time for the next federal election, noted MP Cathy McLeod.
She said a range of budget measures show Ottawa is heeding feedback obtained through its finance committee and economic roundtables.
McLeod pointed to a pledge to index the annual gas tax at two per cent a year, giving local governments a firmer commitment over the long term for infrastructure expansion and renewal.
"The bigger overriding concern is what will that commitment look like, moving forward," said Mayor Peter Milobar. "All in all, it's something we can hopefully work with."
The jobs strategy offers one-third funding for training grants to employers with equal shares from the provinces and employers.
"That's a new way to encourage Canadians to train for jobs that are going to be available," McLeod said.
For the country's still-struggling manufacturing sector, Flaherty announced an accelerated capital cost allowance. Essentially, that's a $1.4-billion tax relief measure to invigorate the sector.
"It certainly catches our attention because we're in the middle of proposing a major expansion at Moly-Cop," said Maurice Hindle, sales manager with the company in Kamloops.
That would improve competitiveness and enhance the expansion proposal for board approval, he said. The expansion would add 35 jobs to the Kamloops workforce.
While renewing its long-term commitment to affordable housing and countering homelessness, spending was slightly reduced.
"It's better than the worst-case scenario," said Tangie Genshorek, co-ordinator of the Kamloops Homelessness Action Plan. Many advocates feared that the federal government might abandon its support entirely.
Flaherty proposed spending $253 million over five years with matching contributions from the provinces. The money will go to new construction, renovation, home ownership assistance, rent supplements, shelters and homes for abused spouses.
Genshorek was disappointed the government did not create an affordable housing tax credit similar to that in the U.S., a policy she lobbied for on Parliament Hill last fall.
"They could have gone a lot farther," she said. "We would have seen some real change in homelessness in 10 years, but they're doing something."
The budget proposes to eliminate import tariffs on sports gear and baby clothes, which would benefit consumers, said Starr Carson, a partner with KPMG in Kamloops. If the cost of importing goods goes down, so should retail prices.
There are a lot more measures aimed at closing tax loopholes than he had expected.
"They've very aggressively tried to shoot down all the tax loopholes that they've tried to identify as abusive," Carson said.
He pinpointed several measures of broad interest:
P Dividend tax increase: Of interest to company owners who take dividends, the effective tax rate would climb to 21.22 per cent from 19.58 per cent for non-eligible dividends paid after 2013.
P Lifetime capital gains exemption: Increased to $800,000 from $750,000 on dispositions of qualified properties as of 2014.
P Graduated tax rates on trusts: The government will consult on possible measures to eliminate tax benefits arising from taxing at graduated rates. That would affect a common tax-planning measure.
P Charitable donation tax shelters: The government wants to discourage taxpayers from these. Canada Revenue Agency will be permitted to collect half of the disputed tax when a taxpayer disputes its assessment, pending a determination of liability.
P Life insurance: The government is closing loopholes around leveraged insured annuities.
P Business tax rate: As well as the manufacturing incentive, the government would extend the hiring credit for small business.
Carson also noted the introduction of a temporary, first-time charitable donor's tax credit to encourage young people to give.
A first-time donor will be entitled to a 40 per cent credit for donations of $200 or less and 54 per cent for donations greater than $200 to a maximum of $1,000.