The federal government neglected the needs of Central Alberta and Albertans through the 2022 federal budget, says Red Deer-Lacombe MP Blaine Calkins.
On Thursday, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland released the Liberal government’s 2022 budget, which includes more than $31 billion in new spending over the next five years.
Calkins said “this is not a responsible budget – this is an NDP budget.”
“It is a budget funded by Canadians suffering from inflation. Canadians need a break and they didn’t get one from the NDP-Liberal budget today,” said Calkins.
Calkins said the federal Conservative Party was looking for three things: controlled spending to control inflation, tax breaks for Canadians and substantial action on increasing housing supply.
“The budget failed Canadians on all of these. This is a budget that is good for government coffers and bad for Canadians’ bank accounts,” he said.
“This budget contains no plan to address the inflation crisis or to make life more affordable for Canadians who are struggling to put food on their table or fuel in their car. As life gets more expensive, the Liberals simply try to shift blame, and change the topic.”
Calkins said the government’s plan to address housing affordability provides no tangible targets or deadlines.
“They are simply proposing a national bureaucracy imposed on the provinces and municipalities. Not one house will be built or bought this year under these NDP-Liberal programs,” he said.
Public Interest Alberta said federal investment in housing is a step in the right direction for Albertans struggling with affordability. (The budget put housing in the spotlight with more than $10 billion in investment, Public Interest Alberta said in a statement.)
“For far too long, so many Albertans have been struggling with rent or scraping together enough for a down payment in a housing market that is increasingly out of reach for most families,” said Bradley Lafortune, executive director of Public Interest Alberta.
“The federal commitments to housing today, which include new investments for housing in Indigenous communities and a new housing cooperative program, are all good first steps in the right direction.”
There are still questions as to how the budget will curb systemic problems in the housing market, Lafortune said.
“We don’t see enough interest paid to the financialization of housing, and it remains to be seen whether these investments will adequately address the crushing crisis of affordability for renters and accessibility for homeless Albertans and Canadians,” he said.
Calkins said the federal government also promised to make it more expensive for the oil and gas sector “by phasing out the use of flow-through shares for oil and gas exploration and development by 2023, as they attempt to phase out this major economic driver, and all the well-paying jobs that go with it.”
Agriculture has been overlooked as well, he added.
“Canada has the opportunity to help feed the world, particularly in light of Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine. The government should be thanking farmers for helping put food on our tables, not layering them with more red tape, and maintaining the status quo,” said Calkins.
“This NDP-Liberal budget is just an avalanche of unfocused government spending that will only further fuel inflation and leave Canadians with more unsustainable deficits and future generations with more debt to repay.”