OTTAWA – People who lost their jobs and other victims of this recession are the losers in this budget while banks whose profits just doubled hit the jackpot, said New Democrat Leader Jack Layton.

“Budgets are about choices. Mr. Harper has chosen to enrich banks and oil companies, the most profitable corporations in the country, with billions in spending on corporate tax cuts rather than help lift seniors out of poverty by increasing the Guaranteed Income Supplement. Instead, they are promising nothing more than to consult seniors about their poverty. That`s not help. That`s a stalling tactic.

“Mr. Harper hasn’t learned anything from this economic crisis, which was triggered by a lack of regulation and reckless risk-taking by banks and financial speculators. Instead, he’s offering more of the same old policies that got us into trouble in the first place.”

In yesterday’s Speech from the Throne, the Harper government also promised that it would not raise taxes on “hard-working Canadians,” but it did just that in the budget.

“That little box on your paycheque labelled EI is where they are going to hit, starting in 2011, every wage earner and every employer in the country with $19 billion in new taxes. They’re taking from you and giving to the banks and big oil.”

“They got elected with the slogan ‘Stand Up for Canada’, but all they ever seem to do is stand up for Bay Street and the oil patch,” said Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP, Carol Hughes. “I know that a lot of pensioners who were looking for some help from this government are going to be really disappointed. To think, they had to lock us out of here two months for this.”

That tax burden is going to be even heavier for residents of Ontario who will begin, this summer, paying the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) on everything from funerals to vitamins, haircuts and movie tickets.