Mulcair: Budget a missed opportunity to reduce inequality
March 23rd, 2016 - 10:25am
Canadians had high expectations for today's Liberal budget, but what they got instead were missed opportunities to tackle inequality and backtracking on key commitments. They shortchanged First Nations education by $230 million and First Nations child welfare by $130 million in the first year alone.
"Families across Canada are worried about their jobs and struggling to make ends meet – but today's budget told them they would have to wait longer for help,” said NDP Leader Tom Mulcair. "The government missed an opportunity today to really deliver change.”
The government failed to fix Employment Insurance by establishing a fairer, universal threshold for eligibility, failed to restore access for seasonal workers, and continued the longstanding Liberal and Conservative practice of raiding the EI fund – taking almost $7 billion contributed by workers and businesses and using it for general government revenues.
"I have been travelling the country and have heard from Canadians about the realities of job loss, crushing household debt and retirement insecurity,” added Mulcair. "Unfortunately, today's budget failed to deliver the change promised by the Prime Minister to start closing the gap between the rich and everyone else.”
The budget took no action to eliminate costly stock option loopholes for CEOs, reverse any of Stephen Harper's tax cuts for the most profitable companies or fix their unfair tax scheme that delivers billions to the wealthy and nothing to over 60% of Canadians. It also failed to make promised investments in healthcare to improve homecare access.
"Every budget is about choices,” concluded Mulcair, "And Liberals have chosen tax breaks to CEOs and profitable corporations over helping seniors, First Nations children, and the unemployed.”