A budget of choices

MP Richard Cannings reflects on the first budget the new Liberal government put forward last month.

Last month the Liberal government brought forward their first budget, a document that was expected to deliver on the many promises they made during the campaign. And, after a decade of Conservative budgets that ignored the crisis of climate change, crumbling infrastructure, the needs of First Nations, and the care of veterans, this one was greeted by many Canadians as a step in the right direction. But it could have been much more than that, and can only be seen as a missed opportunity at this time when Canadians had voted for real change.

Budgets are truly about choices and when you present a 271-page document like a federal budget, there is bound to be a mixture of good choices along with the poor ones. The Liberals made some good choices that I support, such as new investments in affordable seniors housing, new funding for tourism advertising and the re-opening of the important Veterans Affairs office in Kelowna.

However, there are also many campaign promises completely missing or only partially fulfilled in this budget. After the Liberals promised to invest $3 billion over the next four years in seniors home care, their budget shows nothing towards that vital service. Yes, the federal government has to talk to the provinces about how this care would be delivered, but the funds to be directed to home care should have been included in this budget if they are serious about this promise. Similarly, a pledge to bring in a pharmacare plan isn’t mentioned; like home care, this would be an investment that would pay back handsomely in savings in future years, but the Liberals failed to make the bold steps needed. And while the news of reopened veterans service offices is welcome, the budget has nothing towards improving desperately needed mental health services for veterans.

And budgets are not just about spending—they also cover tax measures. The Liberal government could have brought in $800 million a year by fulfilling their promise to close the loophole that allows wealthy CEOs to pay only half the taxes on multi-million-dollar stock options that regular citizens pay on income. Corporate income taxes have been cut almost in half over the last 15 years by both Liberal and Conservative federal governments. The tax cuts for corporations over the past 4 years of Conservative government have cost Canadians about $36 billion in lost revenue and have done nothing to spur investments in new jobs. The Liberals could have reversed this trend while keeping Canada’s tax regime very competitive, but instead left corporate tax rates untouched.

I hope that the government will take the feedback that New Democrats are offering to make improvements to this document. In the meantime, I welcome any comments you might have on the budget. Please don’t hesitate to contact me by email at Richard.cannings@parl.gc.ca and I look forward to hearing what you have to say.

Richard Cannings is the MP for South Okanagan-West Kootenay.

 

Just Posted

Interior Health study offers take-home drug testing kits to spot fentanyl

Interior Health to evaluate safety of at home drug testing kits aimed at reducing fentanyl overdoses

Nakusp students get CPR, defibrillator training

Advanced Coronary Training program visits high school

Cannabis promoters call for ‘reset’ of federal pot rules

Changes in regulation are causing chaos for small growers, say letter’s authors

Trail firefighters quash a string of suspicious brush fires

Seven brush fires started Friday night; Trail police investigating

Kootenay cannabis growers, analysts pan new Health Canada policy

New requirement to build facility before licence approval will discourage growers from going legit

UPDATE: B.C. pilot killed in Honduras plane crash

The crash happened in the Roatan Islands area, according to officials

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Carbon dioxide at highest levels for over 2.5 million years, expert warns of 100 years of disruption

CO2 levels rising rapidly, now higher than at any point in humanity’s history

B.C. ferry stops to let black bear swim past near Nanaimo

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Most Read