DO NOTHING BUDGET IS NOT WHAT LONDONERS NEED
February 11th, 2014 - 5:02pm
I am writing from Ottawa where the 2014 Federal Budget was released this afternoon. A budget with little attention to the needs of the London area.
Londoners cannot afford a do-nothing budget – they are looking for action on affordability, retirement security, and creating good jobs. Instead, Conservatives seem ready to put partisanship first and delay help for still struggling families until next year, an election year. With thousands more Londoners unemployed today than before the recession, London families need help now – not made to wait until it is politically convenient for the Conservatives.
This is the reason the NDP has proposed practical, low-cost solutions that will help give families a fair break, including:
- Cap ATM fees, cracking down on payday lenders, reining in credit card rates.
- Job creation tax credits for youth and small business.
- Bring back the ecoEnergy home retrofit tax credit.
- Restore funding for veterans.
In particular we need an increased investment in Service Canada and Veterans Affairs. Both need an increase in the number skilled staff persons to address the growing needs of Canadians requiring service. Veterans have been clear about what they wanted from this budget. Instead, Conservatives are pushing ahead with their cuts and closures. Even the Canadian Military is still waiting on medical personnel who specialize in mental health. Promises were made in 2009 and 2012 for more mental health experts on bases and available to personnel, promises that have failed to be met.
Here in London what we needed to hear in this budget were initiatives for manufacturing, food production and processing, and small business start-up help. I am really sorry to see that there was very little to help Londoners back work. With 11,300 fewer manufacturing and food processing jobs in the area since 2006, we are in desperate need of concrete solutions.
We are glad Conservatives are promising to act on some New Democratic proposals like banning pay-to-pay billing and reducing prices for consumers. But they’ve made these promises before and Canadians are still waiting for them to follow through.
Budgets are about making choices. Conservatives are promising to attack public servants, unions, environmental groups and other critics, instead of attacking the challenges facing Canadian families.