MP Report - Budget fails to meet the needs of Northerners

Earlier this week the Federal government tabled its 2011 budget. The Federal government missed the opportunity to make life more affordable and help Northerners, our families and our communities. The budget was an opportunity to address the needs of Northern Manitoba.

As MP for Churchill I was looking at what the budget would do in a number of areas. I was looking at the need to support the many seniors living below the poverty line. While the budget did improve pensions somewhat it did not go nearly as far as was needed. The Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) increase is a half-measure, leaving tens of thousands of seniors still living in poverty. There was also no commitment to improve the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) or further protect private pensions.

The budget did include forgiving a portion of student loans for doctors practicing in under serviced areas but did nothing to work with the provinces to increase the supply of doctors. It still leaves millions of Canadians without access to a family doctor.

The budget ignored many important issues. There was no new substantial investment to deal with critical water issues on First Nations. Nothing new to deal with the housing shortage in Northern communities or road access.

While there was a volunteer firefighter tax credit there was nothing to provide the firefighting equipment and training desperately needed in Northern communities.

There was no removal of the Federal tax on home heating.

The priorities of the government were clear: corporate tax breaks and fighter jets, not the needs of our people in our region or across Canada.

That is why we will not support the budget as presented.