THUNDER BAY – Politics – Conservatives always claim that they know how to manage the economy. But the facts don’t bear out the claims. For example, Brian Mulroney racked up the greatest debt and deficit in Canadian history until now. When Canadian voters finally figured that out, his party was set back to two seats in the House of Commons!
Mr. Harper and Mr. Flaherty say the words “jobs,” “economy” and “fiscal management” a lot, but fewer and fewer Canadians still believe them. Since 2009, Mr. Harper has spent $113 million of your hard-earned and hard-paid tax dollars on advertisements bragging about his “Economic Action Plan” and his alleged economic record. Let’s look at some facts:
- Unemployment has increased by 9 per cent – and youth unemployment is double the national rate!
- Canada is 20th in the OECD for job creation from 2007 to 2012
- Real economic growth per capita is the lowest in (wait for it…) 78 years!
- The number of consecutive Conservative deficits? Six!
- The number of deficit targets hit by this Finance Minister? Zero!
- Cost for an average house has increased 52 per cent, to nearly $400,000.
- Personal debt for the average Canadian has increased 26 per cent.
- The increase in the national debt? Over $123 billion … a 25% increase!
In Thunder Bay-Superior North, Harper and Flaherty have slashed your services. Recently, we’ve seen closures of local Veterans Affairs, Citizenship and Immigration, Canada Revenue Agency and Marine Communications and Traffic Services offices, plus job cuts across the board, including dozens at the Canadian Grain Commission and Service Canada. Northwestern Ontarians have increasingly been cut off from vital services.
In Budget 2014, I will be looking for:
- Targeted support for employment insurance, and enough local Service Canada staff to handle claims
- A plan to strengthen the Canada Pension Plan and protect retirement security
- Investments in passenger rail and freight rail safety from coast-to-coast
- Real plans for job creation, including for our forestry sector
- An end to the $1.3 billion subsidies to the oil and gas industry
- Increased funding for FedNor, and for the program to be made a stand-alone regional economic development agency
- A fee and dividend revenue-neutral system to prevent global warming that will finally price carbon andput money back directly into the pockets of taxpayers.
- Consistent and adequate funding for healthcare, including long-term facilities and homecare to free up beds in hospitals and provide for our aging population
- Reintroduction of the popular ecoEnergy home retrofit program, which gave out grants of up to $5,000 to homeowners to help pay for energy efficient upgrades like replacing furnaces, improving insulation and sealing windows and doors
- Tax cuts for small businesses and increases to large multinationals like banks and Big Oil
- Lower bank, ATM and credit card charges
Mr. Harper likes to call himself an economist. Have you ever wondered why most economists are theorists, but not investors or businesspersons? Harper and Flaherty have been deceiving us (and perhaps themselves) with their ideological delusions for years. Let’s look at these numbers, smell our morning coffee, and get a new government that will deal with some pretty harsh fiscal realities before things get even worse.
Bruce Hyer MP
Thunder Bay Superior North