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Published on Sunday, March 4, 2018

Mixed reaction to federal budget from Halton officials

Budget forecasts $18.1 billion deficit in upcoming fiscal year

Mixed reaction to federal budget from Halton officials
Photo by Carlos Osorio
Canada's Minister of Finance Bill Morneau tabled federal budget titled Equality and Growth: A Strong Middle Class, on Feb. 27
By Julie Slack, Oakville Beaver

Milton MP Lisa Raitt says Trudeau Liberals are making it more difficult for young families trying to save for a down payment.

Her reaction comes after Finance Minister Bill Morneau tabled the third federal budget in Ottawa on Feb. 27, titled Equality and Growth: A Strong Middle Class.

The budget, which forecasts a $18.1-billion deficit in the upcoming fiscal year tackles gender equality, with a focus on closing the gender gap in the workplace.

Raitt, who’s the deputy leader of Canada’s Conservatives, said the Prime Minister is failing to turn a roaring world economy into results for Ontarians.Oakville Mayor Rob Burton said the budget takes positive steps to address the gender gap.


"After almost three years of Justin Trudeau, the reality is that: Never has a Prime Minister boasted so loudly, and spent so much, to achieve so little.” Milton MP Lisa Raitt

“Budget 2018 was a huge opportunity for Justin Trudeau. Instead, the Prime Minister is raising taxes on over 90 per cent of Ontario middle class families, and this budget announces new tax hikes on local businesses. And despite all the spending, middle class Ontarians are no further ahead,” she said. “Justin Trudeau’s economic policies fail to make a difference in the lives of Ontarians. He is raising taxes on young Ontarian families, making it more difficult to save for a down payment to buy your first home. After almost three years of Justin Trudeau, the reality is that: Never has a Prime Minister boasted so loudly, and spent so much, to achieve so little.”

Raitt added that her party supports new parents and families.

“Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives are focused on bringing forward policies that put hardworking people before government, including solutions that support new parents and young families," she said.

However, Oakville MP John Oliver said he’s pleased with measures announced in the budget.

“One of the most significant announcements in Budget 2018 is the creation of the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare,” he said.
“Currently, one in four Canadians cannot afford to fill or finish their prescriptions. It’s time for our Government to show leadership on ensuring that every Canadian has equal access to live-saving prescriptions.

"Budget 2018 also is making a historic investment of nearly $4 billion to support the next generation of Canadian researchers creating advancements like new technology to diagnose disease earlier or new medicines to treat patients.

"Oakville takes pride in our green spaces and natural environment. To protect our waters and biodiversity, our Government is investing $1.3 billion for nature conservation, and roughly $1 billion to establish better rules for the review of major projects that will protect our environment, fish and waterways. This is one of the most significant investments in nature conservation in Canadian history.

"Budget 2018 is promoting gender equality in Canada, and taking action to make sure that the benefits of a growing economy are felt by all Canadians. A new EI Parental Sharing Benefit gives parents additional weeks of EI parental benefits when both parents share parental leave. We are expanding Canada’s Strategy to Address Gender-Based Violence, providing funding to projects including preventing teen dating violence and support rape crisis and sexual assault centres.

"$1.8 million in funding is also proposed for programs to engage men and boys on the importance of gender equality through events like our local Hope in High Heels.

“These investments will be key in ensuring opportunities for all Canadians, and I look forward to seeing how Budget 2018 will bring equality and growth to Oakville” said Oliver.

Burlington MP Karina Gould, was also pleased with the announced items including changes to Canada Workers Benefit.

The Government is proposing amendments that will allow the Canada Revenue Agency to automatically determine whether these tax filers are eligible for the benefit. An estimated 300,000 additional low-income workers will receive the new CWB for the 2019 tax year as a result of these changes. Specifically, the Government estimates that approximately 108,000 additional low-income Ontario workers will receive the Benefit for the 2019 tax year.

CWB enhancements, combined with new investments to make sure that every worker who qualifies actually receives the benefit, will mean that the Government is investing almost $1 billion of new funding for the benefit in 2019, relative to 2018. The Government estimates that enhancements and improved take-up in 2019 will directly benefit more than 2 million working Canadians, many of whom were not benefitting from the WITB. This will help lift approximately 70,000 Canadians out of poverty.

“It is estimated that Ontario low-income workers will be provided with about $1.2 billion more in CWB during the 2018-19 to 2022-23 period as a result of Budget 2018 actions,” she said.

Oakville reaction

Oakville Mayor Rob Burton said the budget takes positive steps to address the gender gap.

“I am supportive of all of the investments made to provide women with opportunities, including bringing more women into the workforce and ensuring men and women are paid equally,” said Burton. “I applaud the federal government for recognizing that Canada’s economy and success is tied to the equality of opportunity to work and earn a good living.

“I am pleased that the budget also addresses the current #MeToo movement with investments in a strategy aimed at eliminating gender-based violence and harassment and a new national unit of the RCMP to review ‘unfounded’ sexual assault cases.”

Nonetheless, he wasn’t pleased the budget didn’t address the lack of affordable housing.

“I’m disappointed the federal government has remained silent on the challenges of affordable housing in Canada,” said Burton. “It is critical that we address this issue in a timely manner. The problem will not go away on its own.”

Oakville Chamber of Commerce said the budget was big on spending, and short on growth.

Budget 2018 is primarily about spending-new spending initiatives and enhanced spending for programs that aim to support low-wage Canadians, address gender inequality, support First Nations development, strengthen indigenous rights and self-determination, promote skills and research, improve health and environmental stewardship and enhance justice and security.

Some of the spending initiatives announced in the budget will help business, particularly women entrepreneurs and small businesses, but they are limited in scope. There are also some important improvements in government policies-particularly with respect to the tax treatment of small business and the simplification of business support programs business and the simplification of business support programs, they said.
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Author: Mayor Rob Burton

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