Federal budget reckless

Stephen Harper's Conservative budget ignores today’s challenges

To the editor:

Stephen Harper and the Conservatives have recklessly chosen to put all our national challenges aside in the new budget in order to contrive the semblance of a surplus before the next election.

So much for all their claims about Canada’s economic success. By putting politics before real, pressing needs, they are failing our families, our youth and our economy.

Nearly 225,000 more people are out work than in 2006, yet there is nothing significant in the Conservative plan to create jobs. There is not even a cent to reduce the double-digit youth unemployment that is scarring the careers of the next generation.

Not only are there too many workers without jobs, but there are also too many jobs without workers: employers are scrambling to find skilled workers to fill vacant positions.

Yet the budget freezes funding for training at pre-recession levels and merely shuffles around existing money. Its signature training scheme will not be in place for another five years.

In Budget 2013, infrastructure investment falls like a stone, dropping annual funding of the Building Canada Fund from $1.7 billion a year to a mere $210 million a year for the next two years.

Our cities are aging and need new roads, transit and sewers, yet municipalities planning to build them will be forced to wait years for substantial new federal funding.

After promising to improve Canada’s relationship with First Nations, Mr. Harper has failed to close the gap between federal funding for First Nations K-12 education and provincial schools.

Young Aboriginals endure the worst education outcomes in the country and the continuing failure to address this federal responsibility deprives another generation – and our economy – of a prosperous future.

The Conservatives also plan to cut $33 million a year from Fisheries and Oceans. This only exacerbates their failure to implement the recommendations of the Cohen Commission, putting the future of our fisheries, including the iconic Fraser River sockeye, in jeopardy.

These supposedly free-market Conservatives intervened in the mortgage sector to push rates up, potentially costing the average homebuyer thousands of dollars.

 

Bob Rae

Liberal Party leader