Budget designed to horde cash misses the mark again and again
February 25th, 2014 - 2:28pm
Ottawa – Canadians in need are finding that a ‘do-nothing’ budget is leaving them behind, according to Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP, Carol Hughes. Hughes took part in the Budget Debate Thursday, delivering a speech that itemized many missing and underfunded items that were dismissed in order to build a huge surplus for the Conservatives to spend just ahead of a federal election.
Hughes opened by reading a message from a senior who, despite working, has difficulty meeting basic needs like food and heat while struggling to pay for medication and eye glasses. Hughes says seniors are not alone in their struggles and the budget truly does nothing to make things better.
“We should not be slapping the Finance Minister on the back when all that he has really done is dismiss so much need in the pursuit of a single goal designed to benefit the Conservative Party of Canada alone,” said Hughes.
The MP explained that in addition to dismissing the plight of impoverished seniors the budget cut back funding to disability organizations, cut targeted tax initiatives to help small business hire new employees, and ignored Northern Ontario altogether.
“People in the region were left to wonder if they are even on the Conservatives radar at all,” said Hughes. “They had good reason to wonder, since there was no mention of Northern Ontario, or its economic development agency FEDNOR, at all.”
Hughes explained how tight household budgets in the North aren’t getting any real relief in the budget which makes it sound like high gas prices will receive attention, but loses most consumers in the details.
“In Northern Ontario high gas prices are a constant problem and New Democrats have long advocated an ombudsman to ensure that consumers are not being gouged at the tank,” said Hughes. “While there is some recognition of gas price disparity in the budget, the focus is on cross border disparity and even that is nothing more than vague language with no details or timelines.”
Hughes also raised the decision to underfund the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation program and to further delay addressing chronically underfunded First Nations schools as additional examples of the way a surplus is being built.
“Despite changing their tune on First Nations education, this government has taken a page from the Liberal Playbook which amounts to strong language with distant commitments, but precious few dollars,” said Hughes.