Liberal budget falls short for Windsor-Essex

Windsor-Essex NDP MPs are disappointed in the Liberals’ 2017 budget, saying it falls short of meeting the region’s needs by failing to build a fair economy that lifts everyone up, not just the wealthy and well-connected.

“The Liberals’ infrastructure privatization scheme ignores the needs of rural communities. Essex County needs investments in rail, highways and transit—not more user fees and tolls,” said Tracey Ramsey, MP (Essex). “Families and the seniors who built our country are deeply concerned about the high cost of living, but this budget does little to build a fair economy that lifts everyone up. The budget also missed a key opportunity to deliver a PACA-type program for produce farmers.”

Brian Masse, MP (Windsor West) is concerned that Budget 2017 abandons crucial priorities that are fundamental to promoting economic growth: “Budget 2017 fails in many respects. Most concerning is a watering down of Canada’s commitment to the automotive sector. It offers no new vision with respect to addressing inefficiencies at the border. Lastly, in a time where we see uncertainty and confusion with respect to environmental commitments in the US, this budget has a muddled and narrow perspective with respect to Great Lakes issues.”

“I’m deeply disappointed that this budget lacks funding for a national pharmacare plan. Despite repeated studies, proposals and pledges, Canada remains the only major country that offers universal health care without a national drug plan,” said Cheryl Hardcastle, MP (Windsor–Tecumseh). “All the arguments on behalf of national pharmacare have been won many times over—it will save government coffers billions, expand coverage to the millions who lack it, and multiple polls show overwhelmingly that Canadians want it. It is time for this government to put the interests of ordinary Canadians above those of powerful industries.”

Ramsey, Masse and Hardcastle welcome new investments in affordable housing—something that the NDP has fought for over many years—but warn that most of the funds will be delayed until after the next election. At the same time, there is no mention of concrete plans to create good full time jobs or an auto strategy to help address uncertainty with Canada-US trade. There is also no tax relief for small and medium businesses.