BC Southern Interior MP Alex Atamenenko (NDP) is “not impressed” with the federal budget unveiled on Mar. 29. In a media release, Atamanenko panned changes to Old Age Security eligibility, federal health transfers and changes to duty free rules. In his own words, here’s his Mar. 29 media release:
Conservative Budget Plan – Gut Canadian Institutions and Prop up Big Business
Ottawa – Alex Atamanenko, MP for BC Southern Interior, is not impressed with the direction taken by the Conservative government in the 2012 federal budget introduced today in the House of Commons.
Atamanenko says the government’s plan to raise the eligible age for Old Age Security from 65 to 67 will force seniors to work two years extra while denying jobs for younger workers longer. It also forces low-income seniors in BC to live two more years on degrading rates of social assistance.
The budget also short changes the Provinces by $31 billion with unilateral changes to the funding formula for federal health transfers, opening the door wide to privatization and two-tier health care.
“These are massive cuts and the provinces cannot afford it,” said Atamanenko. “It is shameful that this government will balance the books on the backs of seniors who want to retire in dignity and make it a certainty that more families are left without a family doctor.”
The BC Southern Interior MP is also worried that the increase in duty free shopping to $200 for 24 hours and $400 for 48 hours will be sure to hurt businesses in border communities. “It’s a gift to American retailers and it undermines our tax base further,” said Atamanenko.
“It seems the government’s only job creation strategy is to facilitate super tankers and dirty oil pipelines over our most pristine land and waterways while gutting environmental assessments,” declared Atamanenko, referring to Conservative plans for sweeping legislative and regulatory changes to environmental assessments and over $100 million in funding to expedite resource extraction.
“Once again this government is taking care of its big business friends while completely ignoring the growing inequality that is plaguing this country.”
“New Democrats have called for a reduction in the small business tax rates, real protection for retirement security and stable Health Care funding for the provinces,” concluded Atamanenko. “Instead we are seeing the reckless gutting of Canadian programs and a budget that actually plans for unemployment to grow.”