Fed. budget doesn’t address Port Alberni needs: Johns

Vancouver Island left off the table, says Alberni MP.

The newly-released federal budget doesn’t do enough for the Alberni Valley, according to NDP MP Gord Johns.

“It’s a mixed bag but I’ve got a lot of concerns,” said Johns.

“The Liberals are running a $30 billion deficit. That’s an almost $100 billion deficit over three years and no plan to get us out of debt.”

The Liberals had originally campaigned on a promise of three $10 billion deficits.

The budget forecasts more than $100 billion in deficits for the next five years, contrary to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s election promise to balance the budget in four years. Morneau billed the budget as a plan to “revitalize the Canadian economy” and deliver a tax break to nine million taxpayers, and a more generous, tax-free child benefit.

The budget also indicates Ottawa can contribute up to 50 per cent of future capital funding, instead of the one-third from each senior government that was the practice in the past.

Although the budget is extensive, Johns doesn’t think it addresses key issues in communities like Port Alberni.

“They’ve failed to tackle inequality,” said Johns. The budget includes cuts to middle class tax rates – from 22 to 20.5 per cent for the $45,000 to $90,000 income bracket. Only part of that is offset by an increase in the tax rate for income over $200,000 from 29 to 33 per cent—something that Johns said doesn’t help those making under $45,000 per year.

“This is a bill that gives most of the tax benefits to those making around $200,000 per year while offering Canadians who make around $40,000 per year nothing at all.”

The budget also includes $8.4 billion for aboriginal communities. Johns doesn’t think that goes nearly far enough.

“They’ve fallen short on first nations funding.”

The Alberni Valley is home to a higher than average percentage of first nations.

“It’s a huge issue here in the Alberni Valley,” said Johns.

“The school at Tseshaht, [Haahuupayak], is beyond capacity.”

Johns and NDP party leader Thomas Mulcair critisized the federal government’s employment insurance approach.

“Right now there are 850,000 people who have lost their jobs who are not even eligible for EI,” Mulcair said. “The budget only takes care of 50,000 of them.”

The federal government will continue to keep BC Ferries as ineligible for federal transit funding, Johns said.

“The 3.4 billion for public transit… they’re excluded from that.”

Cutting tariffs from ferries is another thing that puts coastal communities at a disadvantage.

“Local government has been putting forth ideas to build jobs… they could take that funding to build shipbuilding operations in Port Alberni,” said Johns.

“This budget leaves out British Columbians and Vancouver Islanders.”

—with files from Tom Fletcher/Black Press

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

facebook.com/albernivalleynews

twitter.com/alberninews

 

 

Just Posted

VIDEO: Missing Alberni teens now suspects in three northern B.C. killings

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky are wanted in the deaths of Lucas Fowler, Chynna Deese, unknown man

Port Alberni looks to sell or lease out heritage train station

(By MIKE YOUDS and ELENA RARDON) City staff in Port Alberni will… Continue reading

Port Alberni’s Arrowview Hotel will be demolished

City council chooses lowest of three demolition bids

VIDEO: Man found dead near Alberni teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18

Soapbox derby a success in uptown Port Alberni

Organizers say an adult racing category is coming for 2020

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

Wrestling legend finds his wedding dance groove in B.C.

Professional wrestler Chris Jericho posted on social media that he was in Penticton recently

Horgan hints at Daylight Saving Time changes after record survey response

More than 223,000 online surveys were submitted in the government’s public consultation

Coroner investigating after body recovered from Okanagan Lake

Penticton fire department assisted the RCMP with the recovery of a body Saturday

Overdoses overwhelming in B.C. Interior

Part two: Who’s affected by the current opioid crisis

Kelowna cab driver charged with sexual assault

RCMP received a report May 28 alleging a taxi passenger had been sexually assaulted by a cab driver

Jurors talk about trial of U.S. man convicted in 1987 murders of B.C. couple

Three jurors offer a window into deliberations during the trial

Tubing world record broken on Vancouver Island

But record for length of tubes linked together still has to be confirmed

Most Read