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BRANTFORD- Today, the Conservative Party of Canada released a budget ahead of the upcoming election that seems stubbornly focused on helping the wealthiest few, said Marc Laferriere, federal NDP candidate for Brantford-Brant.

“Under successive Liberal and Conservative governments, we’ve seen growing inequality. Here again is a budget that is aimed at fairly affluent, upper middle-class voters,” said Laferriere. “The Harper government has once again ignored the needs of the middle class, the environment, and Six Nations.”

Laferriere went on to note that the budget – primarily an election document – is focused on winning re-election. “Average Canadians won’t see any benefit from this budget for several years, if at all. After all, how many of us have an extra $10,000 laying around at the end of the year to contribute to a Tax Free Savings Account?”

The budget documents aren’t all bad, Laferriere admitted.

He pointed out that the Conservatives took several ideas proposed by the NDP, including a small business tax cut, and extended compassionate care though he added that the budget plan only contained half-measures.

“The NDP proposed a small business tax cut to be phased in over two years and the Conservatives voted against it. In an election year, they’ve promised a similar cut phased in over twice as long as we proposed.”
Laferriere also criticized the re-announcement of initiatives like funding for social housing, saying that re-announcing funding in a budget document is a transparent election ploy.

“What the Conservatives released today is not a budget. It’s their platform for the next election. That’s why Canadians won’t see benefit from this budget for many years, if ever,” he said. “This is obviously a budget about this year’s election, and you know that Phil McColeman will have a catchy slogan when he sends his next taxpayer-funded flyer in the mail.”

The Brantford-Brant MP’s press release on the budget, Laferriere noted, contained no specific allocations for Brantford-Brant. “Our MP has been promising to solve the land claims issues for almost a decade, yet there is no funding for Six Nations. He talks about cleaning up Mohawk Lake, but there is no new money for the environment or protecting the Grand River – in fact the environment and climate change are not mentioned once in the document.”

Laferriere added that McColeman’s press release was copied from the press release issued by Simcoe North MP Bruce Stanton.

Laferriere saved his sharpest words for the budget’s plan to use the emergency contingency fund to eliminate the deficit.

“The Conservatives used to have a lot to say about Liberals raiding the EI fund to balance the budget and, after years of deficits, the only way they could balance this budget is by raiding our emergency fund to do the exact same thing,” he said. “It seems to me the contingency this government is most worried about is the upcoming election.”