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By Hub staff

"This is the wrong prescription for the country," said Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound NDP candidate David McLaren after listening to Finance Minister Joe Oliver deliver his first federal budget.
"This government has put all its economic eggs in one basket – the oil sands – and those tax revenues have dropped," said McLaren in a telephone interview. "This political budget, with its tax credits and cuts for people the Conservatives hope will vote for them, takes even more money out of the coffers so that the government can no longer do what governments need to do." As an example, McLaren says that the government has sent Canadian troops into harm's way, but money that was previously budgeted as necessary for defence spending and veterans' services was not spent on their needs.
The government announced a budget surplus of $1.4 billion, achieved, says McLaren, by taking $2 billion out of the $3 million contingency fund, and selling General Motors stock purchased during the bail out at a loss.
Referring to a UN study of the impact of the financial crisis on child well-being, McLaren notes the factors that led both economies and children to the best outcomes – low levels of tax avoidance and a high citizen buy-in to universal national programs of childcare, health care and education. "No investment is being made in these universal programs in this budget. The child-care benefit of $120 per month is not enough, and now that it is applied to children up to the age of 17, it is not being invested where it will make a real difference years down the road."
One of the tax cuts in the budget is the reduction of small business tax from 11% to 9%, a proposal McLaren says the Conservatives voted against recently when the NDP brought it to the House. But what small businesses really need, he says, is customers with good jobs and disposable income.
"The best social program of all is job creation," says McLaren, who recently authored a report on the impact of precarious work in Grey and Bruce and is an advocate for a "living minimum wage" of at least $15 per hour. "I see no money for innovation; no money for rural transportation – nothing at all for the people of Grey and Bruce."<


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