Valeriote claims that conservatives are not fooling Canadians with jobless budget

Saturday, March 31, 2012


 Guelph MP Frank Valeriote expressed his disappointment with the Conservative government’s jobless budget.

“This budget should have had one focus – jobs,” said Valeriote. “They missed the mark completely; hiding billions of dollars in cuts behind weak job creation numbers while sowing confusion about what services will be available in a couple months.”

Compared to June 2008, there are now 291,700 more Canadians who are unemployed and looking for work. Numbers for Guelph are equally startling as Guelph has lost 2,700 jobs in the last 2 months with the unemployment rate growing from 4.4% to 5.6%. Guelph’s job market is stagnating while the working age population continues to grow.

There are only 100 more jobs today compared to June 2010, while the working age population has grown by 2,500 and only 100 more full-time jobs compared to August 2006 while the working age population has grown by 8,000.

“With 500,000 fewer jobs and more unemployed Canadians since 2008, the real focus of this budget should have been jobs and measures to address youth unemployment, growing jobs for a growing population and dealing meaningfully with Canada’s skills shortage,” said Valeriote. “Instead, it was a shell game of billions in cuts, shifting money from hospital beds to jails and jets and all the while, sticking the provinces with the bill.”

The Conservative government’s budget neglected to deal with income inequality, the most significant concern of most Canadians. Non-refundable tax credits penalize struggling Canadian families who already cannot afford to send their children to music lessons or involve them in recreation-league soccer, baseball or hockey and therefore cannot receive the benefit of a tax credit.

By making cuts to the Old Age Security benefit, the Conservative government is jeopardizing low-income seniors. Sixty percent of OAS recipients are Canadians over 65 years of age living on an annual income less than $25,000. This cut will also negatively impact access to the Guaranteed Income Supplement and increase pressure on the provinces which are responsible for welfare. Meanwhile, the independent Parliamentary Budget Officer, among other experts, report that the OAS is in fact sustainable.

“In 2005, Stephen Harper promised to protect OAS benefits, now he claims it is unsustainable in its current form,” said Valeriote.

“The only thing that is really unsustainable is Conservative rhetoric on the OAS. Conservative cuts will needlessly and negatively impact low-income seniors and nothing in this budget leads to a stronger, more stable national economy.”

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