Budget shows a government adrift – Fraser

Alberni-Pacific Rim MLA Scott Fraser says the B.C. budget shows a government that has run out of gas.

Scott Fraser says selling off assets to meet an election promise is a poor choice for British Columbians.

The budget brought down by Finance Minister Kevin Falcon this week was a disappointing document that shows a government that has run out of gas, says Scott Fraser.

The Alberni-Pacific Rim MLA said the budget offers nothing new to British Columbians and leaves seniors and many other British Columbians out in the cold.

“We have the highest income gap in the country and the highest poverty rate in the country and that will continue,” Fraser said. “Meanwhile, Medical Services Plan premiums are going up and there are Hydro rate increases, ferry increases … it all adds up.”

In particular, Fraser was critical of the lack of any initiatives to help train students for the future.

“In the last decade we have become the worst place in Canada to be a student, with the highest student debt, the highest increase in tuition fees and the highest interest on student loans in the country,” he said. “We are also the only jurisdiction that canceled all needs-based grants for students who want to get ahead but can’t afford to. They gutted the apprenticeship program for trades training when it has been clearly identified that B.C. is facing a looming skills shortage.”

Noting the government plans to spend $15 million this year for TV ads to publicize their jobs plan, Fraser said this money would have been better spent supporting students.

“They are not going to get the training, so they are not going to get the jobs,” he said.

Fraser said he wants to see the non-refundable student grant program reinstated and paid for by rolling back a couple of the tax breaks given to big banks.

“The banks will be the beneficiaries of that because we will have a stronger economy with more people trained,” he said. “That’s a true investment the bankers will understand, I’m sure.”

Fraser agreed with the need to be fiscally prudent in these uncertain times, but argued the Liberals have a long way to go to get to that point.

“These guys have not been fiscally prudent,” he said. This is the worst government for managing the economy. They’ve put nothing towards managing our resources, which should be a priority. Whether it is our forests or our water, to not manage those is a betrayal of future generations. It’s akin to selling off land to try to make an election promise to balance the budget. You don’t sell off your assets to pay off the debt unless you’re desperate and this government is stripping the cupboards bare. It’s as desperate as it gets.”

 

Just Posted

Burning Thanksgiving question: Turkey or ham?

PQB notables also talk best side dishes

Jordie Lunn, world-renowned mountain biker from Parksville, dies in accident

The 36-year-old was with friends trail riding in Cabo San Lucas when the accident happened

Island man restores 1962 Qualicum Beach fire truck he bought for $1

Vintage vehicle in working order and ready to hit the road

VIDEO: Langley woman’s security camera records its own theft

Langley family discovers early morning grab was recorded

Canadian Snowbirds plane crashes before air show in Atlanta

Pilot lands safely after ejecting from jet

Map on Elections Canada website sends Nanaimo-Ladysmith voters to landfill

Address for polling station correct, but Google Map address differs

1/3 of Canadian men won’t share their feelings for fear of being ‘unmanly’: report

Fifty-nine per cent of men said society expects them to be ‘emotionally strong and not show weakness’

Share crash data, private insurers tell David Eby, ICBC

B.C. monopoly makes drivers retrieve their own records

B.C. VIEWS: Wolf kill, not backcountry bans, saving caribou

B.C.’s largest herds turn the corner from extinction

Pearson nets shootout winner as Canucks clip Flyers 3-2

Vancouver picks up second straight home win

BC Children’s Hospital launches 2 new virtual care sites bringing total to 19 across province

Provincial initiative allows pediatric patients to see health specialists through video

Most Read