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Johns: Federal budget a disappointment

COURTENAY, B.C- Gord Johns isn’t happy with the new federal budget.

The 2018 budget was unveiled this afternoon, with the Liberal government announcing $21.5 billion in new spending over the next six years.

Money aimed at fighting the opioid crisis, new funding for First Nations Children and Family Services, and $172 million over the next three years for clean drinking water on reserves are some of the document’s highlights, along with the creation of an advisory council for a national pharmacare plan.

Johns, who serves as the MP for Courtenay-Alberni, was less than pleased with the financial blueprint.

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“I think that British Colombians might have hoped to find measures in today’s budget that made life easier, and I think they have every right to be disappointed,” said Johns.

“Instead of closing down on loopholes for the super rich and making real investments in affordable housing and in the environment, the Liberals chose to further delay implementing those measures. Budgets are about choices, and unfortunately, the Liberals have chosen tax breaks for wealthy CEO’s on Bay Street and giveaways to large corporations over helping our seniors and families and small business people.”

He was concerned that the budget did not contain enough that would help coastal and rural communities, such as his riding, mentioning what he saw as a lack of urgency for investments in the salmon fishery and support for senior’s pharmacy needs.

“I think it’s a bunch of re-announcements,” said Johns.

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“It’s a large disappointment to tackling inequality, and the issues that are important to us as coastal people. The government has put forward announcements, and people out in our communities aren’t fools and won’t be misled about the government re-announcing amounts of money and commitments that are mainly going to fall in place after the next election.”

Five weeks of extra leave for two-parent families under the EI Parental Sharing system and $1.3 billion over five years to conserve land, waterways, and wildlife were also included in the 2018 financial plan.

A large announcement on affordable housing was absent.

Overall, Johns was disappointed.

“It’s another missed opportunity to build an economy that lifts people up,” he said.

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