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Olivia Chow: Harper’s Ominous Omnibus

August 10th, 2012 · 2 Comments

This budget is not good for Canadians, nor is it good fiscal policy.

By Olivia Chow, Member of Parliament for Trinity-Spadina

Canadians have a right to expect reliable government services in return for our tax dollars. And for decades, our public priorities were clear—we built a public healthcare system that became the envy of many countries around the world, a peaceful country where fair wages were paid, and where the elderly could retire in dignity.

But something is changing. The Harper Conservatives are ignoring Canadian priorities and have rammed through a budget with devastating effects.

Millions of Canadians will lose $12,000 of their hard-earned retirement benefits. They will have to wait two additional years before finally getting back some of their tax money in the form of Old Age Security (OAS). More and more seniors will be pushed into poverty if they cannot bridge the gap before their pension benefits kick in.

Our health services will suffer from a shortfall in federal support that will amount to $31 billion over the coming years. People will likely have to pay more for their prescription medicine, and wait longer for vital medical procedures.

And why all this? Because of a Conservative Government with a misguided agenda based on redirecting our tax dollars to tax cuts for corporations, rather than investing in true Canadian priorities.

This budget is not good for Canadians, nor is it good fiscal policy.

In fact, the independent parliamentary budget officer found that our OAS system is stable and sustainable—ignored.

Government spending on healthcare is in line with average spending among G8 countries and the OECD. But, the Harper budget has ignored that as well.

At the same time, the Conservative budget does nothing to address the elephant in the room—our sputtering economy and unacceptable unemployment. 1.4 million Canadians are out of work—virtually unchanged from a year ago—and at a record high for young Canadians with a 14 per cent jobless rate. And now Employment Insurance will get slashed as well.

So what was this record-length, 425-page budget bill about? Two thirds of it was not about fiscal policy, but a sneak attack on environmental and labour policies and laws that have protected Canadians. Seventy pieces of legislation were repealed or changed without due diligence or committee oversight.

The message of the Harper’s Conservative budget is clear: if you are looking for employment, you are on your own. If you are about to retire, we just tricked you out of 12 grand. If you are sick and injured, don’t you dare think that federal government will help. Don’t dare think that our tax dollars will be reinvested in our priorities.

Together with my New Democrat colleagues, I am fighting for a different vision of Canada. A more equal society where prosperity is generated and shared. Where the helpless are not left to fend for themselves. Where we invest tax dollars in our priorities for building a better country. It is not a matter of affordability to create this better society, but a question of priorities. Canadian priorities.



Tags: Annex · Editorial · General

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 NKingsley // Aug 18, 2012 at 9:20 am

    I agree full heartedly with Olivia! I myself have two teenage children unable to get their first job. I worry so much about their future and what that holds if our government doesn’t invest in the Canadian people. Years ago we didn’t worry about even half of the things that are forefront now….Health care, employment, environment, education, disrepect for the elderly-the contributions that they made this country to be up until now and the list goes on and on. The PC government only cares about themselves and a quick buck for them. They are teaching our young to be selfish, disparate and greedy. All qualities none to be proud of!! I hope and pray that this can be reversible!!

  • 2 Lee // Aug 19, 2012 at 5:14 am

    I agree with Olivia too. It scares me to see the direction that the current government is taking. The govt. needs to invest in the people and stop taking orders or kickbacks from corporations with no conscience. Invest in the Canadian people, not corporations or millionaires with no empathy. The govt needs to stop sending out the message of segregation, stereotyping communities, disunity and promoting selfishness and greed. It saddens me to see certain leaders making scapegoats of the most vulnerable people ,people or communities who don’t have a voice —like the recent Danzig street shooting or refugees or on immigrants or racial stereotyping. Attitudes are formed by leaders of our nation. It is time to stop and invest back in the people, promote unity and connectedness. That has what enabled Canada to survive the recent financial crisis which was caused by greed , selfishness. Progress with everyone on board not just a selected few. We need people like olivia to champion that.