Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns criticizes the federal government for not tackling ‘greedflation’ at a time when some Canadian families are cutting meals to make ends meet. He says the Liberals and Conservatives are not in favour of making oil companies, large grocery chains and big box stores pay what they owe to help families pay for heating and food.
“People can’t keep up,” Johns said Friday, the day after Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland presented the Fall Economic Statement in Ottawa. “The Liberals and Conservatives are disconnected with the reality of working people.”
Johns — NDP Critic for Mental Health and Addictions — is encouraged by a doubled GST tax credit, up to $467, to help curb rising costs such as food and gas.
“That will show up in the hands of over 35,000 people in our riding alone.”
Other positives include a permanent removal of interest on student loans, incentives to clean tech and clean hydrogen companies to create jobs, and doubling the first-time homebuyers tax credit.
However, he said the statement is good for investors but not for families, and “much more needs to be done” to help people through a recession.
Johns is disappointed in the lack of new funding to address mental health, and the toxic drug crisis.
“The stigma continues as these budget choices continue to show. Twenty more families are going to get the call today, and they’re going to be burying their loved ones. These are preventable deaths.”
A report by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health estimates the cost of mental health and substance use to be $50 billion a year. Johns said Canada is spending five to seven per cent of its health care budget on mental health, whereas the target should be about 12 per cent, as other G7 countries are budgeting.
“We’re so far off the mark on mental health and substance use, especially when it comes to children and youth,” Johns said, noting other countries have legislation to ensure parity in mental and physical health. “Health care shouldn’t stop at the neck. That’s why we want dental care, pharmacare and mental health to truly make our health care system universal.”
Contact has been made with the federal government for a response to Johns’ statements.