Mel Arnold gives Tuesday’s federal budget a fail.
The Okanagan-Shuswap Conservative MP said finance minister Bill Morneau’s $18.1 billion deficit budget is another sign the Liberals’ spending is out of control, and the budget did not address some key constituency concerns.
“They could have worked toward balancing the budget but now we’re saddled with another $18 billion debt,” said Arnold, who accused the Liberals of ignoring the middle-class working Canadians that are “struggling to balance their own budgets at home.”
“What we’ve seen so far is raising taxes on 90 per cent of middle-class families, the ones they claim they’re working for. Increasing taxes on businesses, the businesses that create jobs and it’s the working class that needs those jobs.”
Arnold did identify possible opportunities for the North Okanagan- Shuswap in some budget proposals.
“Over the past couple of months, I have worked with elected leaders from across the riding to identify needs and priorities of the people we represent and I submitted these to the Minister of Finance,” he said. “Budget proposals for housing, dealing with the growing opioid crisis and improving water supply on reserves align with needs identified in these consultations and I will be tracking these initiatives and others to help connect federal funds with projects in local communities.”
However, other funding needs and priorities identified by communities and submitted by Arnold such as municipal water and waste water infrastructure, Trans-Canada highway improvements, aquatic invasive species prevention in B.C. and an elimination of the new escalator tax on spirits, beer and wine were not provided for in the budget.
“I am committed to connecting constituents with the opportunities that this budget may represent and will also continue to advocate for a fiscal policy that supports our communities without creating increased tax burdens that future generations will have to pay back.”
Morneau said his budget is one that puts people first; that invests in Canadians and the things that matter most to them.
The budget includes a $3 billion adjustment for risk, saying that spending money is a good thing for the long-term future of Canadians.
There is, however, no timeline to get the budget balanced or back into the black.
“Businesses or families cannot continue to go on this type of deficit spedning as they plan to for the next decade, actually, with no plan on returning to a balanced budget,” said Arnold. “You wouldn’t be able to do that in your home, I wouldn’t be able to do that in my home or my business. It’s not fair for government to expect to get a pass on that.”
Arnold said he hopes voters will remember the Liberals’ propensity for spectacular spending when it comes around to the next eleection.
“I hope they (voters) think of what it’s costing them,” said Arnold. “I did a quick calculation and the $18 billion this year adds up to $514 further in debt for every man, woman and child in Canada.
“Add that to the $16 billion and $20 billion deficits the past couple of years and it’s sinking future young Canadians further and further into debt.”