A pair of Conservative MPs from Northern BC are panning the 2023 federal budget unveiled by the Justin Trudeau Liberals.
One of the most talked about items was the continuation of an increase in the GST rebate for lower-income Canadians, to help cope with the cost of food.
In it, single people with no children will receive 234 dollars, families of four will get 467 dollars and seniors can expect 225.
Cariboo-Prince George representative Todd Doherty told Vista Radio while increasing the GST rebate for lower-income Canadians, to help cope with the cost of food is great, Ottawa needs to be taking action every day to tackle the affordability crisis.
“We have to do more to put Canadians first. We need to be able to create opportunities for us at home and for us in rural and remote communities, there need to be opportunities there in this budget and other budgets to make life more affordable. Sadly, I think we are being punished just based on where we live.”
“I worry that those critical dollars that are so needed in their communities are just not going to be there. I don’t think this budget does anything for the affordability crisis and it does nothing to make life easier for Canadians.”
Doherty added Ottawa did little to address the topic of housing – an issue that only seems to be getting worse, not better.
“We’ve got that next generation of homeowners that are still living with their parents because they either can’t afford rent and that home ownership is quickly becoming out of reach.”
Furthermore, he was very critical of the Trudeau government for not attempting to make life more affordable every day – instead of just when the budget comes out.
“On April 1st, we know that gas is going to go up another 14 cents a litre and there will be a payroll tax that will come into play so we’ll be faced with fewer and fewer dollars in our pocket.”
Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies MP Bob Zimmer was equally as perplexed with Ottawa’s approach stating the natural resources sector, especially in our region received little to no mention.
“It seems like this government, especially around the place where we live in Northern BC where we are about natural resource development – they seem to be doing everything they can to get in the way of development and positive growth in the economy while at the same time spending to record levels on the other end.”
“We don’t see any promise of a new Taylor bridge in northern BC, we don’t see any infrastructure for Prince George – we see a nice little reference about a biofuels project in Prince George but there is no money coming with that shout out.”
This year’s budget also comes in with a much higher deficit, $43 billion, than the $36.4 billion previously forecasted. Slower economic growth and lower government revenues are being blamed with the budget projecting that there will still be a $14 billion deficit on the books in five years.
That’s a reversal from last fall’s projection that the budget would be balanced by 2027-28.
Zimmer says that is simply not good enough.
“We have an economy that is slowing and that is already saying something for those in Prince George that are already affected by the mill closures and impacts around our forest sector. It’s not looking real good.”
“I think it’s a tired government that likes to spend money. It has not gotten out of its COVID stupor yet – it spent 90 billion in the deficit just last year or the year before and the excuse was COVID but COVID is behind us so why is there a 43-billion-dollar deficit this year?
Details were also revealed on the dental-care plan which will provide care to uninsured Canadians with a family income of less than $90,000 annually.