Reaction to the Conservative Budget From Across the Lines

chess not checkersTHUNDER BAY – The federal budget brought down by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has brought a range of reactions. Here are some of the reactions from various groups from across Canada;

Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Stan Beardy says the 2011 federal budget released today does not support a roadmap to addressing the critical issues facing NAN First Nations. “The Harper Government has failed to recognize where the real needs are. We see no investments to ensure long-term sustainability for NAN communities. The over 500 million dollar commitment through Canada’s Economic Action Plan does not address the infrastructure needs within Northern Ontario when you consider the funding is intended to support First Nations across Canada,” said NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy. “The budget included a commitment for an all-season road in Northwest Territories but what about Northern Ontario? We have been lobbying for all-weather roads to connect our remote NAN communities and have not seen anything from the federal government. We once again see no real commitment to strengthen and improve NAN First Nations. As the gap continues to widen between First Nations and the larger society it will create noticeable and costly social burden.”

CBC/Radio-Canada is pleased to see that in the 2011-2012 Federal Budget tabled today, the Government of Canada announced that the investment of $60 million in funding that CBC/Radio-Canada been receiving since 2001 for Canadian programming initiatives has been renewed for another year.

“This is great news for Canadians who look to CBC/Radio-Canada for high quality Canadian programming on television, radio and the Internet,” says Hubert T. Lacroix, President and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada. “Given the financial challenges of the past few years, we are very grateful to the Government for this important reinvestment in public broadcasting, and to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, the Honourable James Moore, for going to bat once again for CBC/Radio-Canada and for being a passionate supporter of the Corporation and of our programming.”

Scott Jobin-Bevans, president of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC), expressed support for the inclusion of the Mineral Exploration Tax Credit (METC) in the Government of Canada’s budget, announced today.

“On behalf of our members, many of whom are involved in raising financing for grassroots exploration, I am pleased that the federal government has proposed that the Mineral Exploration Tax Credit be extended for another year,” said Dr. Jobin-Bevans. “Investment in mineral exploration is the first step in addressing Canada’s decline in mineral reserves and the METC program plays a critical role in encouraging investment in Canadian-based projects.”

Budget relief for family caregivers and seniors was welcomed by the country’s fastest-growing union on Tuesday. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) applauded measures in the federal budget to support Canadians caring for frail and infirm family members, as well as steps to lift more seniors out of poverty. “Family caregivers play a vital role in caring for the elderly and taking time off work to look after people with chronic illnesses. They have been overlooked for too long. It is about time,” said Sharleen Stewart, head of the SEIU Canada, which represents more than 100,000 frontline healthcare providers and service workers in Canada.

“Today’s budget does nothing to repair Canada’s shattered economy or to help its victims rebuild their lives,” says the president of one of Canada’s largest unions, the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada. “Hundreds of thousands of workers in forestry and other industries have lost their jobs and seen their pensions crumble, and this was an opportunity for the government to repair some of that damage,” said Dave Coles. “Instead it has thrown the poorest of the poor a few crumbs,” he said referring to the GIS top-up.

The Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) is pleased with the government’s commitment to work towards the development of a long-term plan for public infrastructure that extends beyond the expiry of the Building Canada plan, as announced in today’s budget. CUTA offers its full support for this process and expects public transit to represent a strong component of this plan. “This is a step in the right direction. With an overarching and sustainable strategy for infrastructure investment, it will make it easier for local and regional authorities to develop long-term plans and offer high quality public transit for all Canadians wherever they live”, says CUTA President and CEO, Michael Roschlau. “It is critical that all levels of government work together to make it happen. Public transit contributes heavily to improving our communities by fostering economic development, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and enhancing the quality of life of all Canadians.”

The economic measures announced in today’s budget will continue to support the economic recovery and help Canadian businesses prosper and compete. “We are pleased that this budget does not plan for any tax increases,” said Canadian Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Perrin Beatty. “The Canadian Chamber and its network have been very active in the corporate income tax debate over the last few months and our message has been heard. Canada’s low tax plan has created a healthy economic environment for business investment and we applaud the government for staying the course.”