Federal budget drives debate

MP Colin Mayes pleased with financial plan while opposition parties aren't impressed

Opinions are split on Canada’s financial plan.

Finance Minister Joe Oliver presented the Conservative government’s 2015 budget Tuesday.

“It’s another indication that we believe in lower taxes and Canadians are better off with more money in their pocket to spend in the economy,” said Colin Mayes, Okanagan-Shuswap MP.

While some critics claim the budget only benefits the wealthy and not middle-class families, Mayes disagrees.

“When you look at the tax credit for sports activities and the child care credit, Canadian families have $6,600 in their pocket,” he said.

The budget calls for tax free savings accounts to be hiked to $10,000 per taxpayer annually.

“It helps people put money away to look forward to retirement,” said Mayes.

However, opposition to the budget is strong.

“The Conservatives’ so-called balanced budget was achieved by irresponsibly dipping into the contingency fund, selling public General Motors shares at a loss and making aggressively optimistic estimates about the recovery of oil prices,” said Cindy Derkaz, Liberal candidate.

“After a month of delay, Stephen Harper has failed to present a credible budget or a credible plan to grow incomes and create quality job opportunities for the residents of North Okanagan-Shuswap.”

Jacqui Gingras, NDP candidate, believes the budget is typical of the Conservatives.

“It’s creating a means for income inequality to increase,” she said.

Gingras says the tax-free savings account and other measures don’t conform with reality.

“The Conservatives’ idea of who the average Canadian is, is off base. They are putting money in the pockets of the wealthiest Canadians,” she said. “They are not providing high-quality child care. Household debt is higher than ever in Canada.”

Dave Smith, Green candidate, says he found aspects of the budget “disturbing.”

“It calls for increased spending on expanding war to Syria, and increasing funding to security at home. Within a balanced budget, this can only steal from education, hospitals, and other social programs,” he said.

“It does not mention climate change, and our much needed transition to renewables. Instead, the budget offers more tax credits to fracking and LNG.”