Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government might be spending boatloads of money, but it’s not spending it in the right places, the MP for South Okanagan-West Kootenay said after the federal budget was delivered this afternoon.
“Budgets are about choices,” said Richard Cannings, the NDP member for the riding.
“There were choices they could have made both on the revenue side and spending side that would have made this a budget that would be good for Canadians, that would cut inequality, that would have leveled the playing field in many ways.”
Instead, he said, Canadians were left with “missed opportunities.”
“Canadian families are being told to wait for years because the Liberals chose to delay completely fulfilling their campaign promises into the future. Families here in our region are still struggling to make ends meet.
“It is difficult times for our economy, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop tackling inequality. I think that’s where we’re most disappointed.”
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Mr. Cannings said the budget raids the Employment Insurance fund once again, taking $6.9 billion out of the fund over three years without meaningfully increasing access for unemployed workers.
“Despite promising not to repeat the actions of past Liberal governments, which took $50 billion out of the EI fund during their last reign, Prime Minister Trudeau’s first budget delivers more of the same.”
The budget, Mr. Cannings said, fell short on fulfilling many Liberal campaign promises including:
- After clearly promising to restore home mail delivery, the budget doesn’t even mention Canada Post;
- No mention in the budget of funding for homecare after promising $3 billion over the next four years;
- After promising to invest $500 million in rural broadband services, the budget only gave $8 million.
“They just made all these promises, but now they’re telling us that they were unrealistic.”
There is some good in the budget for the riding, Mr. Cannings said.
He pointed to increased money for tourism advertising and some additional money for affordable and senior housing. But he added much of that funding comes with an expectation of matching dollars from the provinces and municipalities.
“A lot of that money might never be spent,” he said, suggesting provincial and municipal partners, themselves cash-strapped, might be hard to find.