Austerity budget not a winner for Canadians
March 30th, 2012 - 2:20pm
When the Conservatives mounted a campaign to get their majority government they certainly didn’t run on attacking pensions and crippling health care. It was less than a year ago and much has changed in the Conservative’s perception of how well Canada is doing.
If you recall, New Democrats said we wanted to fix Old Age Security to address senior’s poverty. Stephen Harper did not counter with plans to increase the age of eligibility or hobble services and transfer payments that support most of the social safety net many seniors rely on.
Here in Northern Ontario this will sting more. People working hard hours in physically demanding jobs will work longer to get basic pension support and that is not always possible. It’s one thing to work a few more years at a desk, but quite another to bust your hump at a mill or a mine until you’re 67.
Ultimately, Canadians were served a myth about good economic management in the last election. What they are being given is a one way road to a country where the well-to-do are the only ones doing okay. A country where part-time, low-waged jobs are the new reality and the middle class is becoming the stuff of fairy tales.
Canada is being defined by inequity and, instead of using the remaining federal muscle to do something about it – like getting tax inspectors to find the people hiding cash in offshore accounts - Stephen Harper cut that muscle to the bone so that his pals won’t get hassled.
They weakened environmental regulations for the benefit of their pipeline pushing friends, kept all the oil company subsidies in place, and refused to do a thing to address the needs of small business who are actually over-taxed.
They are making big cuts across the board including important departments like the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Aboriginal Affairs, Defense, Veterans Affairs and Public Safety to name a few. They are cutting the CBCs budget because they see our public broadcaster as a political enemy.
Again, this bears no resemblance to the platform the Conservatives ran on. They are clearly choosing winners and losers which is not the role of a federal government. Much of the fighting and difficulty that is going on among provincial and municipal levels of government can be directly linked to the Conservatives abandonment of federal leadership on items critical to Canadians.
There will always be a handful of items that are relatively good in any budget. That is what the Conservatives use to attack their critics with. New Democrats will be told we didn’t support this or we didn’t support that at every turn. It is the bluster we are accustomed to. Whatever good there may be, I will stand strong in my belief that the Conservatives would never have won a majority government or likely government at all, with the budget that they have presented to Canadians this spring.