Budgets are about priorities

"But to supposedly “balance” their last budget, the Conservatives (like the Liberals) raided the EI fund."

When Tom Mulcair recently said an NDP government, would produce a balanced budget, both the Liberals and the Conservatives were predictably critical. But budgets are about priorities.

Immediately, the Liberals said the NDP would thus produce an “austerity budget”; which the Liberals actually did through the 1990s.

They slashed budgets, cutting transfer payments to the provinces and downloading social, infrastructure and more spending. For example, the Liberals ended the federal social housing program, affecting the vulnerable, including low-income seniors. The NDP have said they will reinstate a housing program.

The Conservatives said an NDP balanced budget would mean job-killing tax hikes. However, the Conservative economic program is greatly flawed; their tax cuts created deficit budgets.

Economists said this would happen. And we have been at least six more deficits since then. Yet they say their form of balanced budget is the only way to go.

But to supposedly “balance” their last budget, the Conservatives (like the Liberals) raided the EI fund.  Yet, given unemployment in the manufacturing sector and in places like Fort McMurray, it might have been wiser to use that money for retraining.

Based on evidence, is the Conservative economic planning really solid? They have reduced some taxes, yet have chipped away at so much of our social safety net. Veterans have fought bitterly against  changes to their benefits. I, now, won’t receive a pension at 65, and income splitting won’t help my husband and me.

Far from untenable, I increasingly find NDP economic policies speak to all segments of society, responsibly phasing in some programs. First, the NDP are committed to facilitating a national pharmacare program, where it’s been clearly shown that some pharmaceutical drug cost will drop drastically.

They have a plan to phase in affordable childcare. Such an important infrastructure project will create new, long-lasting jobs.

Most important, all children will have access to quality daycare, and allow parents flexibility in their employment. An NDP government will reduce taxes for small business, increase taxes on the wealthy corporations, and still maintain a lower tax regime than international competitors.

Very importantly, the NDP want to close loopholes for wealthy CEOs who receive stock options as payment. And a final point to this brief overview, they will invest in community infrastructure.

Allison Bowles

Fruitvale