Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound Liberal candidate Kimberly Love calls the Conservatives' federal budget "deeply cynical politics". During a phone interview, Love likened it to "selling the furniture and raiding the children's piggy banks and then expecting us to believe that these people are good money managers." She expressed surprise that the Conservatives persisted with an income-splitting plan at a cost to the government of $2 billion, "even over the protests of former Finance Minister Jim Flaherty who recognized that it benefited only the wealthiest families and offered nothing to single parents or the working poor. This budget gives the most to those who need it the least."
Love previously worked in the pension industry, and she was pleased to see greater flexibility on RIFFS for seniors, a system she called "paternalistic" for telling those fortunate enough to have these investments when and how much they could withdraw. But Love says tax savings, such as those for Canadians with money to save in TFSAs, will happen on the backs of their poorest neighbours who depend on Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement and will receive no increases in this budget. Longer compassionate care leave, for which Love said the Liberals have been calling for some time, and grants for accessibility renovations met with her approval.
Unlike the Liberal surpluses of the past she said, reducing the contingency fund by $2 billion and then declaring a $1.4 billion surplus is not creating a structural surplus. "In fact," Love went on to say, the Conservatives have added $150 billion to our national debt after running deficits that smashed all previous records, including Brian Mulroney's."
Love contends that the Grey Bruce region has suffered disproportionately under the Harper government. "Food banks are booming here, yet the Conservatives are budgeting more money for Confederation's 150th birthday than for First Nations' education. Their priorities are not ours." While there are two pages in the budget devoted to National Parks, Love says there is "not a dime of funding, nothing for tourism and employment on the Peninsula." There is some money earmarked for infrastructure projects across the country, but Love is concerned about adequate funding for the airport in the riding that risks losing its international certification without upgrades, and the Owen Sound harbour dredging on which Larry Miller said he would "stake his reputation". "Our MP is chair of the Transportation Committee and these are communities whose economic future depends on solid planning and funding of this infrastructure," said Love, "yet commitments have not been made."
Love says the Conservatives have budgeted $7.5 million for advertising this budget before an election is called, equivalent to one-third of what a political party can spend on advertising during the election period. "Our tax money will be spent to sell us their agenda."