It’s a new year and the fiscal Conservatives are at it again.
EI and CPP premiums are set to rise this year by $51.50 and $49.50 a month respectively for taxpayers earning around $47,000 to $51,000 a year. That’s $100 a month and $1,200 a year that Blaine Calkins, through his support of the Conservative Party’s fiscal policies, will take away from your household budget. In fact, by the time Calkins runs for re-election in 2015, you very well could have paid over $3,500 in extra taxes. That’s, of course, in addition to increases in the federal fees associated with passports and postage and the now infamous Conservative flip-flop on income trust taxation.
So where is the money going? Well it’s not going to the Canada Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to increase oversight and prevent another XL Foods crisis, which left numerous Canadians severely ill and destroyed the value of local farmers’ cattle. In fact, Calkins voted to cut millions in funding to the CFIA in June 2012.
The money is not going to Canadian veterans who have shown the ultimate courage and bravery by willing to sacrifice everything for their country. In fact, Calkins shamefully voted for a budget that cut veterans’ funding by $15.9 million and $36.3 million in the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 fiscal years respectively.
And the money is not going to dramatically pay down our record deficits. In fact, Calkins has voted year after year to plunge Canada deeper and deeper into debt. In fact, Calkins has voted for budgets that between 2008 and 2012 have plunged our nation an estimated $126.2 billion deeper in the hole. Canada now owes creditors an estimated $17,282 for every man, woman and child.
However, there’s one thing that hasn’t been dramatically cut: the salaries of Conservative members of Parliament. Members of Parliament have long collected a base salary of over $155,000 a year, which has remained largely unreformed. (I emphasis “base” because the perks only begin there.)
If Calkins is serious about balancing the books, he should introduce a private member’s bill this coming parliamentary session and propose cutting MP pay by $80,000 a year (which would still leave MPs with salaries well above that of many teachers and nurses). This bill would leave the Conservative government with enough money to reverse the shameful cuts to veterans.
After all, the men and women who fought for this country and risked their lives deserve a hell of lot more in compensation than “toe-the-party-line” members of Parliament in Ottawa.