Budget does not impress Johns

Many opportunities missed in federal plan, says Courtenay-Alberni MP

  • Mar. 23, 2016 5:00 p.m.

Scott Stanfield

Record staff

Courtenay-Alberni NDP MP Gord Johns says the federal budget tabled Tuesday by Finance Minister Bill Morneau doesn’t do much for the west in terms of job creation or lessening a growing inequality between the haves and have-nots.

Nor does it do anything for B.C.’s ferry system and the coast guard, or enough for seniors and First Nations.

“This mixed bag budget is what I’m calling it,” Johns said from Ottawa. “There’s a few things in there around infrastructure, but really the government’s planning to spend a lot of money — a $30 billion deficit with no plan to return to balance in their mandate. We’re talking about a plan to run deficits over $100 billion.”

While the federal Liberals committed to infrastructure upgrades, Johns says they delivered on only half the transit money that was promised.

“Right now, our ferry system — of the $3.4 billion for public transit — is excluded from this fund. We’re (Island MPs) going to push hard to make sure that (B.C.) Ferries is recognized and is an eligible public transit infrastructure. We’ll be doing that in the House over the coming weeks to make sure that’s included. We know that’s a huge issue for Vancouver Islanders.”

Johns is happy to see something for seniors (Guaranteed Income Supplement increased by up to $947 annually and money for affordable housing) but is disappointed to see no mention of home care.

“It’s not even mentioned in the budget. This isn’t just people in our riding that we’re hearing from on this issue (health and home care). The Liberals completely missed out on a huge opportunity to do that today.”

Regarding the possible closure of the Comox Coast Guard station, Johns says evidence of ‘new technology’ that is the basis for the closure has defects and technical glitches that might cause more confusion on the water.

“The Liberals have budgeted almost $46 million on navigational aids for marine communication and traffic services, when they should just be keeping the infrastructure centres they’ve already got in place in Comox and Tofino.”

The Liberals have budgeted $8.4 billion over five years for indigenous peoples, $2.6 of which is to improve primary and secondary education on reserves. While pleased to see some money for First Nations, Johns said government has fallen “well short” of its commitment.

“They promised to bring the education of indigenous youth up to a level of all Canadians, and that’s not happening in this budget.”

On the tax front, he said middle class tax cuts mostly benefit those earning $200,000 a year.

“We’re failing to tackle inequality, which is something that was promised. We’re failing to help those that aren’t in the middle class join the middle class. We’re failing to provide tax breaks for those that are in the middle class. And the government had an opportunity to close stock option loopholes for CEOs, that cost Canadian taxpayers over $800 million a year, and fuels growing inequality, and they failed to close those loopholes.”

He notes only 30 per cent of those unemployed are eligible for Employment Insurance.

“Those are some of the things we’re seeing first glance. We know there’s a tariff they’re going to waive of 25 per cent for bringing ferries into Canada, so importing ferries made outside the country. That money could be used to increase capacity for ship-building in our riding and on Vancouver Island to strengthen the economy, create good paying, middle class jobs on Vancouver Island…There’s not a lot for British Columbians in here. We’re really disappointed from what we’ve seen so far. We will make sure that we articulate our concerns as we start to debate the budget.”

 

Just Posted

New Coast Guard radar boosts marine traffic monitoring off B.C. coast

Six radar installations set up for Georgia Strait to Queen Charlotte Strait to Prince Rupert

Liquor store robbery suspect arrested

The Comox Valley RCMP have identified the suspect in relation to the… Continue reading

Everybody Deserves A Smile back for its 15th year

Local students leading the charge of spreading Christmas cheer to the Valley’s most vulnerable

Comox Valley Operation Christmas Child shoebox drive entering final days

Deadline for donations is Saturday, November 17

2019 dog licenses now available for Comox Valley Regional District electoral area residents

The Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) requires all dogs over six months… Continue reading

VIDEO: People with diabetes meet their alert dogs

A diabetic alert dog is trained to detect low blood sugar in people who have Type 1 diabetes

Hunter who saved B.C. man pinned inside smashed truck says ‘God was sending me to him’

Sayward man describes chance discovery of Duncan Moffat, 23, in northern Vancouver Island woods

Mid Island Farmers Institute discusses fleece at November meeting

Are you a lover of wool and local fibre? Interested in raising… Continue reading

Comox Valley Nature invites the public to learn about nature photography

Comox Valley Nature is hosting a public lecture on photography. Join Terry… Continue reading

Road-weary Canucks thumped 6-2 by Wild

Vancouver hosts the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday

Toronto private school didn’t report alleged sexual assault to police

Police say a sexual assault at an all-boys Catholic institution was not reported to them

China says butt out; Canada calls for release of “arbitrarily” detained Muslims

A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman accused Canada’s envoy of going beyond their diplomatic roles

Dead Saskatoon tattoo artist’s skin removed and preserved

The skin was removed in honour of the well known artist’s work

North Cowichan is Canada’s hot spot on Wednesday

The Warmland lives up to its name

Most Read