Throne speech misses the mark

Government doesn’t understand real challenges for consumers: Hughes

Ottawa - - Being able to pick and choose which television stations to pay for will do little  to help people struggling to meet basic needs according to Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP, Carol Hughes.

Hughes was offering reaction to the Throne Speech which sets a blue print for the coming sitting of parliament. She noted that so far the Harper government steered clear of consumer issues that could make a real difference such as reigning in credit card rates, and chose to focus on items that won’t make enough of headway for people struggling to make ends meet. 

“They could have previously passed some of these measures, but have consistently voted against New Democrat bills like an Air Passenger Bill of Rights (twice).  And we are seeing how their initiatives aimed at consumers, like voluntary, weak measures on the credit and debit card industry, just aren’t working,” said Hughes. “These commitments today won’t save money and don’t solve the problems of hard-working families struggling just to pay their bills.”

Hughes also noted that challenges for consumers in northern and remote communities have as much to do with access as they do with choice.

“Many of the communities in the north are still waiting for decent access to the internet and won’t be happy with vague promises to enhance what isn’t reaching them,” said Hughes. Add to that the fact that the Conservatives have already slashed funding that helped libraries provide internet access for people who didn’t have it and it is clear where the greater challenges lies.”

Hughes says her skepticism about a consumer agenda has its roots in the way the government increased taxes and hiked user fees in budget 2013.   She feels they are desperately trying to change the channel away from scandal and pinning their hopes on ideas that haven’t held their attention while they’ve been in power.

“The proof is in their actions, not their words. This government replaced taxes with increased tariffs on more than 1,200 everyday goods,” said Hughes. “The Conservatives even decided to increase parking taxes at public institutions like hospitals, schools and municipal lots. Unfortunately this looks like more of the same from a government that has proven time and again they don’t understand the challenges facing most Canadians.”