Editor: I am shocked and dismayed by the recent Conservative budget. It is a short-sighted and blatant attempt to buy Quebec and central Canada votes with Western money. What Canada doesn’t need is Mulroney-esque spending, insignificant tax cuts, a complete lack of vision for the environment, and no push for Canada’s competitiveness.
Canada needs a budget that integrates economic prosperity, social justice and environmental sustainability, while building for the future.
Look at the equalization plan that Finance Minister Jim Flaherty seems to think will stop the “bickering between the provinces and the federal government.” This Conservative budget includes B.C.’s sky-rocketing property values in the calculation of transfer payments, effectively eliminating any benefit B.C. might derive from the plan. When we talk about Western alienation, one has to wonder if this term is news to Flaherty.
Let’s look at the environmental issues. There are no industrial targets. There is no plan to reduce industrial greenhouse gas emissions, yet industrial polluters take up the lion’s share of the greenhouse gas emissions. There is an automobile purchase incentive, “but the amount of the rebate is just not enough to make a difference for people making choices to buy a car,” says Sierra Club’s John Bennett.
The Harper government does not understand the implications or the urgency of the climate change crisis. The Conservatives are ignoring climate change. At the same time, there is not nearly enough in this anti-B.C. budget for city and public transportation infrastructure — something Langley sorely needs.
What about tax relief? John Williamson, president of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, said, “The fellow working the line or anyone with a salary income and no children will receive no tax relief.”
There is nothing for post-secondary education. Aboriginal issues have been dragged back 10 years. Businesses are still paying the highest tax rates in the G7. Child care is virtually non-existent. And there is not a word on affordable housing.
Never before have so many been so disappointed by a government which has done so little with so much.
Editor’s note — Mr. Gray is seeking the federal Liberal nomination in Langley.