Alex Atamanenko is the MP for B.C. Southern Interior

Alex Atamanenko is the MP for B.C. Southern Interior

Southern Interior MP says budget fails rural regions

MP Alex Atamanenko says federal budget short on results for rural B.C.

The new federal budget has failed people and the ailing economies in rural B.C., says the Member of Parliament representing the Greater Trail region.

Alex Atamanenko, said that with the exception of a small business tax credit, the Conservative budget falls short of delivering results for people in the rural parts of the province.

The federal government promised a focus on jobs but has not introduced any new measures to create meaningful employment, he said in a release Thursday, nor has there been any new money for skills training.

In fact, there will be a clawback of $300 million from the $500 million the federal government had provided provinces to promote training. The money will be put into a Canada Jobs Grant by 2014-15.

“Some years ago, this government devolved job training to the provinces,” he said. “Now, without consultation, it is taking back part of the training money for the Canada Job Grant program. This could cause some confusion as to who is responsible for what.”

Atamanenko said B.C. Southern Interior constituents told him they wanted investments in front line public services, a job creation strategy, a better transit system, improved home care for seniors and a national housing strategy.

Trail native Ken Georgetti, president of the Canadian Labour Congress, said the federal government has failed to provide a culture of good skills training and, as a result, has not caught on with business and governments in Canada.

He said it was disappointing only 16 per cent of federal investments for skills and jobs is new money, with the rest an extension or reallocation of existing funds.

“Money has been taken out of the hands of provinces and low-skilled workers, and put into the hands of employers to do what they should have been doing already,” he said.

“Money is being channelled to specific employers with no guarantee that training will meet broader labour market needs.”

Atamanenko also denounced a $36 billion reduction in healthcare transfers.

“It is also disappointing to see the Conservatives pushing ahead with unpopular cuts to EI that will force workers to take a 30 per cent pay cut,” he noted. “And, while the government is taking skills training away from the provinces it is providing no new money for education and training.”