In their struggle to find new ways to slash the federal deficit, the panel discussed several measures—some jokingly—that at first appeared to be pure fantasy. But some may not be that farfetched after all:
Buy used, instead of new, military equipment: The defence department is already buying used. Last December, it purchased 160 trailers from construction contractors to house Canadian peacekeepers in Yugoslavia. Total cost: $4.4 million, about 50 per cent less than new trailers.
A deficit lottery: Lotteries are among the few robust sources of new government revenues. Total lottery profits climbed to $1.64 billion last year from $1.48 billion in 1992. One problem: Ottawa ceded jurisdiction over lotteries to the provinces in 1979.
Ban Canadians from holding more than one job: In an effort to reduce unemployment and spread the available work around, the Italian government prohibits its civil servants from holding down additional part-time jobs.
Reduce the cost of manufacturing currency: The switch, in 1990, from $1 bills to coins will likely save the finance department tens of millions of dollars over the next two decades, in part because the bills only lasted a few months in circulation. As well, as part of a comprehensive study, the Royal Canadian Mint is now assessing the future of pennies—which cost D/2 cents each to produce.
Build retirement communities in Atlantic Canada: While no government has gone so far as to encourage retirees to stay home and spend money in Canada year-round, several provinces are slashing health insurance benefits for treatment outside Canada. After Oct.
1, Ontario’s health insurance plan, for one, will no longer pick up the tab for any non-emergency procedures, including checkups, when incurred outside of the country. JOHN DALY
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