Island MPs give federal budget mixed review

    The Liberal Party decided to support the budget presented by the Conservative government because they felt there are many measures in it which would help stimulate the economy and assist Canadians, said Charlottetown MP Shawn Murphy.

     The federal budget was presented in parliament’s first meeting since it had been prerougued in December, after a vote of confidence was to be held regarding the Conservative government’s ability to lead. If the budget were to be voted out, there would have been another general election. The Liberal Party voted in favour of the budget, allowing Prime Minister Stephen Harper to stay in power.

     Canadians did not want a general election or political instability now that the country is facing serious economic problems, said Murphy.

     “It would have been irresponsible of us to not support a budget that would assist in medicating the economic instability we are experiencing.”

     “While we voted to support the Conservative budget, we did so with our amendment to hold them accountable for their actions outlined in this budget by mandated reports- one in March, one in June and one in December.”

     He said the Liberals are pleased with the new investment in social housing and infrastructure as our towns and cities are in dire need of upgrades and new developments.

     “This money will assist Prince Edward Island and our towns and cities to get our engineers and labour force working to improve our infrastructure.”

     Murphy said he was pleased to see to support for low-and middle-income Canadians through the expansion of the Child Tax Benefit and the Working Income Tax Benefit.

     “There were also target tax cuts that will assist lower income Canadians and there was some assistance for people completing home renovations this year through the Home Renovation Tax Credit. However, I would have preferred to see this funding focused on renovations to make homes more energy efficient.”

     He said he would like to see more assistance for low and middle-income Canadians who have been suffering before this recession and are most vulnerable to this downturn.

     “I would have also liked to see some changes to the Employment Insurance program that allowed more people to qualify and assisted those losing their jobs due to manufacturing downturn.”

     “Again, I think the Conservatives missed a big opportunity to invest in a green economy and I feel that we are failing behind the U.S. and the rest of the world in this direction.”

     While the Liberal Party believes the budget has serious shortcomings and is late in recognizing the crisis, it was supported because of the urgent need for stimulus and the need to inject additional funds from the federal government into the economy, said Malpeque MP, Wayne Easter.

     “The extension of employment insurance, infrastructure funding for municipal infrastructure and broadband support for rural Canada are examples of elements from the budget which can be of help to ordinary Canadians.”

     Easter said the budget was necessary to pass due to the economic crisis, however the knowledge economy, research and development and agriculture sector were all but ignored.

     “In my belief, this was a missed opportunity.”           



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