Grande Prairie-Mackenzie MP Chris Warkentin isn’t mincing his words when it comes to his disappointment with the federal budget.
“We were hopeful that if they were going to break the bank, if they were going to spend like drunken sailors, that the Peace Country might benefit. This is a massive deficit of borrowed money that our children and our grandchildren will have to pay back, of which we are not seeing any benefit, or very little benefit, in the Peace Country.”
Instead of balancing the budget by 2016, the Liberals are spending billions on infrastructure and tax benefits. The government is expected to run a $29.4 billion deficit in 2016/2017, leading to $17.7 billion by 2019/2020.
Warkentin has also criticized the the new Canada Child Tax Benefit, arguing the Liberals have just repackaged old programs with a net loss for families.
“The Universal Child Care Benefit is now cancelled, the income splitting is now cancelled, the tax credit for the children’s fitness as well as the children’s arts credit is now cancelled. We’re skeptical as to how many families will actually be better off, if any are.”
Changes to employment insurance benefits are being extended to hard hit areas of the country, including northern Alberta, but Warkentin believes residents would rather see a plan to get them back to work. The Conservative member says he’d hoped to see measures that would spur investment in the oil and gas industry.
“What Albertans want more than ever is the ability to get the next job, the ability to be assured that there will be jobs when EI does run out. What they are doing is what needed to be done; there’s not question that there was a necessity to make changes to make sure that there was fairness across the country.”
Warkentin argues that in the past that when provinces have hit hard times they’ve seen help from the federal government. He points out that it’s widely speculated that Quebec-based Bombardier will get a one-billion dollar bailout in the next couple of weeks.