British Columbians struggling with precarious employment, rising costs and household debt found little in the federal Liberals’ budget to make the economy work for them, while the wealthy and well-connected were rewarded, says Kootenay-Columbia MP Wayne Stetski.
“Looking through this budget there is very little to address the immediate challenges and priorities of the people across our region,” said Stetski said in a statement on Thursday, March 23. “There are some promising commitments to invest in affordable housing and childcare, but our communities will have to wait a decade to see most of that money. This is a stark contrast to the tax breaks for wealthy CEOs and giveaways to large corporations, which seem to be a priority for this government”
By failing to follow through on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promise to close CEO stock option loopholes, the budget, which was introduced in the House of Commons by Finance Minister Bill Morneau hands over another $725 million to the wealthiest CEOs every year.
“At the same time the budget fails to provide the $155 million needed to end the systemic discrimination in the provision of services to indigenous children,” Stetski said.
He said the 2017 budget pushes forward the Liberals’ plans to privatize public infrastructure including selling off airports that will leave Canadians paying higher prices for generations through new and increased user fees and tollsThe Liberals are also cutting funding for the Pan-Canadian Clean Growth and Climate Change framework by more than a billion dollars over the next two years.
Stetski said one of the few highlights in the budget was a commitment to invest in improved service delivery for Canadians accessing EI and OAS.
“This budget does not reflect the ‘real change’ we were promised,” he said. “To get elected in 2015 the Liberals promised three years of $10 billion dollar deficits followed by a balanced budget in 2019. What we get is $102.3 billion dollars of additional debt over the four-year life of this Liberal government with no balanced budget in sight. This is not the legacy Canadians want to leave to our children and grandchildren.”