MP Gord Johns says Liberals offer a ‘mixed bag’ with budget

The federal Liberals delivered a budget Tuesday with a deficit of $29.4 billion, three times what they promised on the campaign trail

Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns said the Liberal government’s first budget gives him a “mixed bag” of reactions.

The federal Liberals delivered a budget Tuesday with a deficit of $29.4 billion, three times what they promised on the campaign trail. In a phone interview from Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon, Johns suggested that’s not the only reneging the Liberals have done with this budget.

“(The budget) doesn’t create the jobs in our communities that were promised,” said Johns, the NDP’s small business and tourism critic. “We’re not in love with their priorities.”

Johns said the budget provides money for some much-needed issues that are particularly relevant to the Parksville Qualicum Beach region, but doesn’t go far enough.

For example:

• More money for seniors. Said Johns: “I’m really pleased to see the government will increase the guaranteed income supplement and affordable housing for seniors, but they didn’t mention home care, not once.”

• Tourism money. The Liberals have committed $50 million for the next two years, but Johns believes our low dollar (in comparison to the U.S. dollar) needs more promotion in the U.S.

“This was a budget where the government had the opportunity to grow the economy, but they failed to capitalize.”

• The Liberals set aside $3.4 billion for transit improvements, but Johns said it’s “super disappointing” ferry systems like B.C. Ferries will not have access to that money.

• The Liberals will re-open and re-invest in the Kitsilano Coast Guard station, but there’s no mention of stopping the closure of the Comox centre, scheduled for May, despite the fact “they heard about it last week in committee.”

• The budget announced Tuesday makes no mention of future balanced budgets. “They have no plan to return to balance in their mandate,” said Johns.

For more details about the federal budget and more reaction, visit www.pqbnews.com.