This was an opportunity for the government to rein in spending, cut the small business tax rate and provide much-needed support for families in Atlantic Canada. Instead, the Liberals brought forward a budget that contained nothing for our men and women in uniform; failed to support hard-working Canadian farmers and fishermen; and hiked taxes on public transit users, beer and wine, child care, small business owners, oil and gas companies and tourism.
Budget 2017 also confirmed what Conservatives have known for months – the prime minister has a spending problem and will not be able to balance the budget by 2019. In fact, the Department of Finance is now projecting that Canada will be in debt until 2055. That’s a far cry from the balanced budget we left the Liberals in 2015, having carefully shepherded Canada’s economy through the worst of the global economic recession.
Our previous Conservative government was also very focused on supporting families. That is why we implemented initiatives like the Universal Child Care Benefit, the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit, the Children’s Art Tax Credit, tax credits for post-secondary education and textbooks and income splitting for families. Unfortunately, since taking office the Liberals have eliminated these initiatives one by one, with the Public Transit Tax Credit being the latest on the chopping block.
Since getting elected, the Liberals have been taking Atlantic Canada for granted. Despite 32 Liberal MPs out east and four Liberal premiers, there was nothing substantial in the budget for Atlantic Canadians. The Liberals continue to focus on big cities like Toronto and Vancouver and seem to have forgotten communities east of Montreal.
While I was pleased to see that the Liberals decided to continue supporting ferry services in Atlantic Canada, including the Digby-Saint John Ferry and Caribou-Wood Islands Ferry, I was particularly disappointed by the lack of funding for Small Craft Harbours and the absence of details regarding the Atlantic Fisheries Fund. Our fish and seafood sector is too important to be forgotten.
The Liberals admit their economic plan isn’t working for ordinary, hardworking Atlantic Canadians. Their last budget did not grow the economy, failed to create the jobs it promised, and their “infrastructure plan” is in shambles. Budget 2017 will be no different.
Conservatives are the voice of the taxpayer and we won’t stay silent while Justin Trudeau nickels and dimes Canadians to death. We know the recipe for job creation and economic growth: low taxes, free trade and spending taxpayer money responsibly.
That’s why Conservatives will continue to fight to make Canada’s economy competitive; to lower taxes; to be a champion for small businesses; and to hold the Liberal government to account for their reckless spending, while encouraging them to return to balanced budgets.
Hon. Rob Moore is Conservative Critic for Atlantic Canada