Canada's NDP


April 9th, 2024

Rachel Blaney outlines priorities of her riding in upcoming budget  

OTTAWA ON – On Monday, North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney called on the government to address the priorities of her riding in the upcoming budget. In a letter sent to the Minister of Finance, Blaney urged the government to take immediate action to tackle housing, food insecurity as well as the opioid crisis in her riding, while demanding support for local small businesses.

Small businesses continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and rising cost-of-living. “I have heard from local businesses looking for funding opportunities to help them get back on their feet. In these uncertain times, we must support our local businesses and I implore you to provide adequate funding for programs that help our communities thrive” said Blaney.

Housing has become unaffordable across Canada, and this holds true in North Island-Powell River “Families are being stretched to the limit. Rent across the riding is the highest it’s ever been, and it’s still rising; affordable housing has become a thing of the past”.

With food bank usage across the country is at its highest level since 1989, Blaney raised the realities seen throughout her riding. “Parents are doing everything they can to take care of their kids, but the cost of food just keeps going up. I have been contacted by local food banks who are at risk of closing; they are in dire need of government support. More needs to be done to ensure that these organisations have the funds and infrastructure in place to meet the needs of our communities. No child should go hungry in a country as prosperous as ours.”

Canada is in the midst of an opioid crisis and toxic drug overdoses have devastated countless communities. Campbell River just witnessed the worst year on record for toxic drug-related deaths, having the fifth-highest rate of deaths in British Columbia. “This is unacceptable! Canada needs a health-based plan for harm reduction and treatment with a timeline” declared Blaney.

Blaney also called on the Liberals to address the two-tiered system created by their government’s increase to Old Age Security (OAS) benefit for seniors aged 75 and older and demanded that the increase be granted to those 65yrs to 74yrs of age. “More than 2 million senior Canadians were excluded from benefits, despite the fact that all seniors are affected by the increased cost of living. This decision left many seniors further struggling to make ends meet, it is unacceptable” she said.

Finally, Blaney asked the government to address the “marriage after 60 clause,” which prevents spouses who marry Veterans after the age of 60 from receiving survivor benefits. This clause unfairly pushes Veterans’ spouses into poverty, even in situations where they have cared for their spouses for years…and this, despite the announcement of a $150 million Veterans Survivor Fund four years ago. “Not a single cent has been given to Veteran families. Getting rid of the golddigger clause will remain among my top priorities in 2024” she reiterated.

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