From the Office of the Leader of the Opposition
For Immediate Release
March 22, 2011
Today’s Conservative budget hides billions in wasteful spending and offers next to nothing for Canadian families, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said today.
“Liberals cannot support a budget that is so out-of-touch with the priorities of Canadian families, while the government pours tens of billions into prisons, stealth fighters and corporate tax cuts,” Mr. Ignatieff said. “And we will not support a government that deceives Canadians, breaks the rules, and attacks our democracy.
“This budget spends 1,000 times more on fighter jets than post-secondary students, 1,000 times more on prisons than on crime prevention, more for a single day of the G20 than in a year for seniors, three times more on partisan advertising than on family care, and nothing for child care.
“How can any progressive MP support a government that ignores Canadian families and instead ‘stays the course’ on $6 billion in tax breaks for large corporations, a $30-billion untendered stealth fighter deal and $13 billion for US-style mega prisons?” asked Mr. Ignatieff.
The costs of the government’s core spending priorities – new mega-prisons and untendered stealth fighter jets – were not included in today’s budget, further undermining the credibility of the entire budget the day after a damning report recommended the Harper regime be found in contempt of Parliament for hiding this information.
“Any judgment on a budget is a judgment on the government delivering it. Canadians expect us to stand against the Harper regime’s repeated attacks on Parliament and our democracy,” said Mr. Ignatieff. “Stephen Harper faces a contempt vote for hiding the truth of their spending plans from Canadians, and his inner circle faces two RCMP investigations and charges of breaking election laws. We need to bring honesty and respect back to Ottawa.”
“The government’s numbers don’t add up,” said Liberal Finance Critic Scott Brison. “Jim Flaherty has missed every deficit target he has ever set, and the deficit reduction plan in this budget has already been discredited by the Parliamentary Budget Officer and the International Monetary Fund. His wasteful spending and poor fiscal management frittered away the $13-billion Liberal surplus, drove up spending by 18% in his first three years, and plunged Canada into a deficit before the recession.”
A Liberal government will return corporate tax rates to 2010 levels and tackle the deficit while strengthening Canadian families with investments in:
- A real family care plan, with a six-month Family Care EI benefit, and a new refundable tax benefit for working families worth up to $1,350 per year, instead of no EI benefit and a paltry tax credit that does nothing for low-income caregivers and is only worth $300.
- Stronger public pensions, by strengthening the base Canada Pension Plan (CPP) with gradual increases to benefits over time and creating an option for topping-up savings with a new supplemental CPP, not just a modest GIS benefit that works out to only $1.20 per eligible senior a day.
- Support for learning and training, so that all Canadians who get the grades get the skills they need to get high-quality jobs, instead of a paltry $34 per student when two-thirds of parents think they won’t be able to save enough to help their kids go to college or university.
- Quality, affordable early learning and child care, to give our kids the head start they need by offering working families a real choice when they need to find child care spaces for their kids, not just $75 per year for art classes.