Budget cuts pensions, erodes Medicare and ignores our region: Ashton

OTTAWA -Niki Ashton, NDP MP for Churchill, has criticized the Federal Budget as being an attack on pensions and health care as well as more evidence of how the Conservatives are ignoring our region.

Ashton blasted the Conservative plan to raise the OAS eligibility age from 65 to 67, forcing seniors to work two years longer to make ends meet."They are cutting the pensions of my and future generations in a way that will hurt the most vulnerable."

Ashton also said the Conservative government is eroding Medicare. "There will be a $310 million reduction to Health Canada.”

"The Conservatives continue to take the West for granted in this budget.” Ashton pointed out that Western farmers are seeing the true colours of the government's dismantling of the Canadian Wheat Board. "The budget does nothing to address the negative ripple effects in the Prairies, and this budget has done nothing to commit to the Bay line or to the Port of Churchill.”

Ashton criticized cuts to Agriculture and Agri-food Canada,  a vital federal department that provides agricultural research that many Canadians depend on.  She also criticized $16.3 million in cuts over three years to Western Economic Diversification.

Ashton said the introduction of a First Nations Educational Act is a step in the right direction, but it still remains to be seen what is contained in the Act. The budget has promised $275 million over 3 years for First Nations and Métis people, short of the $500 million that the Assembly of First Nations and the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs identified as being needed.

Ashton was critical of the lack of support to build and renovate schools in First Nations Communities. "This budget actually plans a reduction from the amount in 2009 when the government committed $165 million over two years.”

"I will not support a Budget that cuts pensions, erodes Medicare and ignores our region."