April 19th, 2021
Blaney: Federal budget fails to deliver for North Island-Powell River
North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney says the federal budget has failed to deliver on the needs of our region.
“This budget was an important opportunity to support Canadians through the pandemic and set the stage for our recovery. Yet rural and remote regions like ours are not seeing an equitable distribution of funds. Too many Canadians are being left out again while the ultra-rich continue get a free ride.”
On the government’s marquee announcement of $30 billion for a childcare, an item Blaney included in her list of priorities for North Island-Powell River communities, Blaney is not ready to congratulate the government yet. “The Liberals have been promising a national childcare program since 1993. Until all parents in my riding have access to the affordable childcare they need, this is just another promise we will try to hold them to.”
Another important issue Blaney raised was poverty among seniors. The budget includes another one-time $500 payment, and a 10% increase to Old Age Security, but only for those over 75 years old. “Not only does this policy fail to target the seniors in most need, it seems to tell those between 65 and 74 that they should just get a job!”
While she’s pleased to see an additional $1 billion over 6 years for the Universal Broadband Fund to bring modern internet speeds to more communities, and $700 million for the new regional economic development agencies, the details of where and when that money will be spent will be key. “I will be continuing to push the government to ensure this money actually gets spent in our communities where and when they need it.”
Many small businesses will be relieved to hear the wage subsidy and rent subsidy programs extended to September 25, but are still unable to plan past that date, with no guarantee that the economy will be able to open fully by then. “Especially for our tourism and seasonal businesses, they don’t just need help this summer, they need help to survive until next summer,” said Blaney. “The Liberals are continuing to offer small businesses the bare minimum, and we will continue to fight for them to do better.”
Analysis and debate on the 700 page budget will continue in the coming hours and days.