Liberal budget 2016 – London Needs Missed

Ottawa, March 22, 2016:  “The Liberals have fallen short of the expectations they themselves set for Canadians in the October election campaign,” said Irene Mathyssen, NDP MP for London-Fanshawe in response to the 2016 budget announced today.

"I am very disappointed to see the government back down on its commitment to investing in mental health for our veterans.  It is critical that Veterans get the care they need.  While I was pleased to see some increased funding for injured veterans and a plan to hire more caseworkers to reduce the ratio of caseworkers from 40:1 to 25:1. I am also encouraged there was mention of lowering the threshold to qualify for the ‘Last Post Fund’ for veterans’ funeral expenses. But, ultimately we are still falling well short of what our veterans need; and with nothing to support their families, caregivers will still be struggling.”

Mathyssen expressed support for the extension of the Automotive Innovation Fund through to the end of fiscal year 2020/21, as good for manufacturing in Southwestern Ontario. However, she said Southwestern Ontario was not one of the regions identified for expanded Employment Insurance benefits and there was no commitment to clear up the backlog for EI and CPP Disability tribunal appeals, those who most need a hand-up are still left out of this budget just as they were in Stephen Harper’s budgets.

Mathyssen also noted the $1.5billion to Ontario for transit infrastructure, was not good news for London`s rapid transit plan. “London would have to secure between one quarter to one third of all the transit funding available for Ontario. That just isn’t an outcome I view as realistic considering all the communities in need of federal funds for transit improvements.” 

“Sadly, the Liberals have already forgotten their campaign promises for affordable housing, health care, or the $3 billion in home care support they promised, while the $800 million CEO tax loopholes remain open. And, despite their clear promise to restore home mail delivery, the budget does nothing in this regard either, leaving seniors and people with mobility issues out in the cold. In a region as hard hit as London has been as a result of Conservative neglect over the years, this is quite simply a disappointing budget.”

“We can do better and I will keep fighting to see the London region’s needs addressed”.