Federal Budget Out-of-Step with Lower Mainland Families
March 29th, 2012 - 12:00am
Conservatives promised to create jobs but slashes vital services instead
OTTAWA — Today the NDP slammed Harper’s Conservatives for introducing a budget that cuts the vital services that Canadians rely on—such as Old Age Security and health care. Furthermore, there was not a single reference to tackling climate change, despite the budget’s major focus on the “streamlining” of environmental regulation.
"Instead of choosing flawed F-35s, costly mega-prisons while the crime rate is going down, and breaking their electoral promise with reckless and unnecessary cuts to OAS, the Harper government should focus instead on the real priorities of Canadian families and work to improve public services, develop a jobs plan, strengthen pensions, and make life a little more affordable”, said Official Opposition Critic on Finance, Peter Julian, MP (Burnaby-New Westminster).
The budget outlines the Conservative plan to raise the OAS eligibility age from 65 to 67, forcing seniors to work two years longer to make ends meet. It also unilaterally changes the funding formula for federal health transfers, short-changing provinces by a whopping $31 billion, opening the door to privatization and two-tier health care.
“During the last election, the Conservatives promised to protect health care funding and not once mentioned their plans to raise the eligibility age for Old Age Security,” said Official Opposition Critic for Fisheries and Oceans, Fin Donnelly, MP (New Westminster-Coquitlam and Port Moody. “They have now turned their backs on people’s retirement security and put primary healthcare services at risk with these short-sighted cuts.” Once again, cities have been left out with nothing for transit, housing or immigrant settlement services. The budget also takes aim at environmental assessment and reviews.
“We need balanced, common-sense approaches, but by gutting the regulatory review process it’s clear that the Conservatives are putting the interests of the oil, gas and extractive industries above the genuine concerns of landowners, First Nations, and local residents,” said Associate Critic for Natural Resources Kennedy Stewart, MP (Burnaby-Douglas). “By forcing set timelines on projects like Northern Gateway they’re saying that ‘expediency’ matters more than genuine consultation. This budget outlines the blueprint for rapid development of oil pipelines through Burnaby and British Columbia, and the massive increase of tanker traffic off our coastline.”
New Democrats are calling on the Conservatives to increase targeted incentives to create good jobs, protect retirement security and provide the stable funding necessary to allow provinces to hire more doctors and nurses. New Democrats will continue to hold the government accountable.
New Democrats would oppose the Conservative budget unless it was amended to focus on the priorities of Canadians.