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Federal budget 2013: Tariff measures bring relief to Canadian wallets

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HAMBURG, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 10: kids play ice hockey on the frozen Aussenalster river during the 'Alstervergnuegen' on February 10, 2012 in Hamburg, Germany. The very popular annual city festival 'Alstervergnuegen' takes place around the Alster lake in Hamburg. Last time the Alster was official approved for the 'Alstervergnuegen' is 15 years ago. (Photo by Joern Pollex/Getty Images)

Frozen Alster River Draws Ice Skating Enthusiasts

Parents who buy sports equipment for their kids and baby clothes could see cheaper prices in the future as a result of tariff measures highlighted in the 2013 federal budget, while the government also aims to crack down on tax cheats.

In a budget speech that mentions the word “families” 18 times, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty championed “tax fairness” as the government's gift to everyday Canadians.

The federal budget unveiled Thursday offers $76 million in annual tariff relief on baby clothing and sports equipment to help reduce the gap between retail prices in Canada as compared to the U.S.

The government also said it plans to close tax loopholes and enforce tax compliance to save $6.7 billion over six years, and set up a “snitch line” for people that want to report international tax evasion or avoidance.

“Tax fairness is important to ordinary hard-working Canadians,” Flaherty said in the prepared tax of his budget speech. “They know that when everyone pays their fair share, it helps us keep taxes low for everyone.”

The budget also introduced temporary “super credits” for those making their first charity donations to encourage young Canadians to start giving back.

“As was telegraphed, no new taxes were announced today. However, the government hopes to beef up its efforts on tax compliance and curbing tax evasion,” TD Economics said in a report.

The critics were quick to reject the Conservative government budget as weak.

“There is not much in this budget for middle class families or young people,” who are struggling to make ends meet, said Liberal finance critic Scott Brison told BNN.