Bergen blasts deficit budget

Portage-Lisgar MP and Conservative house leader Candice Bergen. File photo

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Another deficit budget isn’t impressing members of the Conservative opposition, including Portage-Lisgar MP Candice Bergen.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau tabled the budget on March 19, including funds for skills training, improving living conditions on reserves, helping first time home buyers, covering the costs of drugs for rare diseases and enhancing the supplement for low income seniors.
It’s not just what’s in the budget or the deficit spending that has raised the ire of Conservatives, who say the timing of the announcement was designed to distract Canadians.
“It’s Trudeau’s attempt at trying to distract from the SNC-Lavalin scandal,” Bergen said.
Conservatives tried to delay the budget by a series of procedural manoeuvres and drowned out much of Morneau’s address by stomping and shouting.
“We used every tool we had,” Bergen said.
The plan to run another nearly $20 billion deficit with no plan to be out of deficit spending any time soon is also concerning for Bergen.
“Obviously deficits today mean higher taxes tomorrow,” she said. “It also has an impact on our economy in terms of competitiveness.”
“It’s higher taxes for Canadians and it has a negative ripple effect on the economy as a whole,” she added.
Bergen said deficit spending has its place, and pointed to a time when Conservatives did that to spur the economy. But she said, they always had a plan to come out of deficit.
“When times were good, that’s when they should be putting money away, not racking up deficits,” she said.
Many of the budget promises will not kick in until after the fall election and despite a wide array of promises made, Bergen said she’s not impressed.
“I really didn’t see anything in the budget that I liked,” she said.
Particularly concerning is the lack of a plan to address issues such as canola sales that are suffering thanks to restrictions from China.
Bergen said she’s not looking for bailouts. “There was nothing for investments to expand markets,” she said.
She added she would have liked to see some support for the business community. “I would have loved to see some actual tax cuts for small businesses,” she said.
Funds to help people buy electric vehicles also don’t help enough according to Bergen, who said they would like to see real action take place.
“The carbon tax for sure does nothing to reduce global greenhouse gas (emissions) and that’s what we’re frustrated about,” she said. “They don’t have an environmental plan, they have a tax plan. If they wanted to do something to clean up our environment, clean up our water, clean up our air, why don’t they start with banning dropping raw sewage into our lakes and rivers?”
Bergen also pointed out Justin Trudeau doesn’t seem to care himself about emissions. Recently he flew to Florida for a holiday, flew back for one vote, and then went back to Florida again.
Bergen said more people than ever before are becoming frustrated with the Liberal government.
“There are a lot of people who say, I voted for Trudeau, but I’m really disappointed and I’m sure not voting for him again.”