North Island – Powell River MP Rachel Blaney says there are things she likes in this week’s federal budget, but there were definitely some things missing.
Blaney says she was pleased to see that seniors receiving the Guaranteed Income Supplement and working at the same time will have a higher income threshold before having their benefit suspended. However, she says that doesn’t do much for seniors who aren’t still working.
As the newly appointed NDP critic for Veterans Affairs, Blaney welcomed new funding, including $150 million over five years to process disability claims. Blaney took over the role last week from neighbouring MP Gord Johns – who has moved into the role of NDP Critic for Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard – and has added it to her roles as both Critic for Seniors’ Issues and Vice Chair of the Indigenous and Norther Affairs Committee.
In 2017-2018, Veterans Affairs Canada only processed 33 per cent of their disability claims within their goal of 16 weeks, Blaney says.
“It’s too bad this didn’t happen sooner,” Blaney says. “Our veterans have been made to wait for far too long.”
Blaney was also disappointed by this week’s budget’s lack of funding for the environment and climate change – aside from a credit for electric vehicles.
“This government has championed themselves as the ones who would put Canada back on track to fix our environment,” Blaney says, adding “Climate change can’t wait, we need action now.”
There was also little support for small businesses in the budget, Blaney says, especially those in rural and remote communities.
Finally, Blaney says she was hoping there would be more in the budget to address the ever-increasing issue of housing affordability and availability.
Aside from the new first-time homebuyer’s incentive, there is nothing new to help create and provide needed housing.
“Many Canadians that are really struggling with issues of affordability and this budget does nothing to help that,” Blaney says.