Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP Alistair MacGregor. (Photo by Bernard Thibodeau)

Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP Alistair MacGregor. (Photo by Bernard Thibodeau)

MP REPORT: Budget shows promising initiatives and missed opportunities

Alistair MacGregor is MP for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford

By Alistair MacGregor

MP for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford

On Monday, April 19, the first federal budget in over two years was delivered. Coming in during the devastating third wave of the pandemic, at a time when so many Canadians and small businesses are struggling to make ends meet, when inequalities have increased and the ultra-rich have significantly increased their wealth, and when so many gaps have been identified in our social safety net, the federal budget had many expectations.

Did it meet them?

Clocking in at over 700 pages, this federal budget, in a nod to the unprecedented times we find ourselves in, is heavy on spending commitments, and promises continued federal financial supports to help Canadians through to the recovery. With approximately $100 billion in new spending, there are significant announcements for childcare, expanding the Canada Workers Benefit, and a green recovery to tackle climate change. These are, at face value, laudable initiatives.

What should give us pause on Liberal promises is the track record of promises from the Liberals. It was 28 years and many majority governments ago that the Liberals first promised childcare. 24 years ago, a similar commitment was made for pharmacare.

The government, in its goal of eventually bringing childcare fees down to an average of $10 per day, is proposing to spend $30 billion over the next five years, with $8.3 billion ongoing, to bring the cost-share to 50/50 with the provinces. Having run on a platform of delivering childcare in both the 2015 and 2019 elections, I applaud this investment and sincerely hope the Liberals follow through. Women in the workforce have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, and this is precisely the kind of investment that is needed help families reach their full economic potential.

READ ALSO: Despite turmoil of 2020 work continued in House of Commons

Following its first debut in 1997, the Liberals’ 2019 platform showcased a national pharmacare promise, but unfortunately budget 2021 makes only a passing reference to working towards the goal of a universal national program. This is especially galling given that it was only two months ago that the Liberals voted against an NDP bill to establish a federal framework for pharmcare, based on the existing Canada Health Act. This is a key element that is missing from our public healthcare system.

The wealthy in Canada have seen their fortunes surge during the pandemic while everyone else has suffered. Instead of offering a wealth tax to bring in fairness, the Liberals missed an opportunity to bring in a crucial revenue source, which could have been used to invest in national pharmacare and dental care plans.

In the weeks and months ahead, I’ll be keeping a close eye on the progress of initiatives promised in budget 2021 while continuing to propose alternative policies designed to help working families get ahead.

– Alistair MacGregor is MP for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford

Just Posted

North Saanich has received a report from the Urban Development Institute calling on the municipality to expand and densify its housing options in the face of demographic and environmental changes as the municipality continues its Official Community Plan review. (Black Press Media file photo)
North Saanich asked to create more affordable, diverse housing

Urban Development Institute says community faces demographic, environmental challenges

The orange parcel was bought by the CRD for $1.1 million to add to Mount Work Regional Park. (CRD map)
Capital Regional District expands Mount Work land for $1.1 million

Privately-owned 13.8 hectares in the Highlands is ecologcically valuable

One woman has been arrested in connection with a drug trafficking investigation. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria woman arrested, car and drugs seized during trafficking investigation

Multiple units combine forces for investigation, arrest

Dog trainer Sharon Labossiere at play with her dogs. AnimalKind, the BC SPCA’s animal welfare accreditation and referral program, has granted accreditation to Sooke's Hanging with Hounds. (Contributed - BC SPCA)
Hanging With Hounds digs its paws into AnimalKind accreditation

Local dog trainer earns special BC SPCA status

Royal Bay Secondary School’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized shortly after being painted but by Monday, coincidentally the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the crosswalk had been cleaned up and students had surrounded it with chalk messages of support and celebration. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
Royal Bay pride crosswalk restored following graffiti attack

Hate terms, racial slur, phallic images spray-painted at Colwood high school

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

More “strings of lights” were seen on May 15, 2021, in night sky over Vancouver Island. (File photo)
Sicamous RCMP Sgt. Murray McNeil and Cpl. Wade Fisher present seven-year-old Cody Krabbendam of Ranchero with an award for bravery on July 22, 2020. (Contributed)
7-year old Shuswap boy receives medal of bravery for rescuing child at beach

Last summer Cody Krabbendam jumped into the lake to save another boy from drowning

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the province’s COVID-19 vaccine program, May 10, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays below 500 a day over weekend

14 more deaths, down to 350 in hospital as of Monday

Royal Bay Secondary School’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized shortly after being painted but by Monday, coincidentally the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the crosswalk had been cleaned up and students had surrounded it with chalk messages of support and celebration. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C. high’s school’s pride crosswalk restored following ‘hateful’ graffiti attack

Hate terms, racial slur, phallic images spray-painted at Greater Victoria high school

Terrance Mack would have celebrated his 34th birthday on May 13, 2021. Mack’s family has identified him as the victim of a homicide in an apartment on Third Avenue in Port Alberni sometime in April. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Family identifies Ucluelet man as victim of Vancouver Island homicide

Terrance Mack being remembered as ‘kind, gentle’ man

Nathan Zuk had left his mother’s residence in Whaletown on Cortes Island in mid-December 2020 in a 14’ skiff rowboat and headed to an unknown location near the Pryce Channel, Deer passage, or Toba Inlet. Photo courtesy RCMP
RCMP need help finding man who set off from Cortes Island in 14-foot rowboat

Nathan Zuk left in December, may have been last seen in Toba Inlet approximately three weeks ago

Emergency service workers at the collision scene along Highway 4 in Hilliers on Sunday, May 16. A motorcyclist was airlifted to hospital by BC Air Ambulance and later died. (Collin C photo)
UPDATE: Motorcyclist dies from injuries sustained in Mid-Island highway collision

BC Highway Patrol says impairment not a contributing factor in crash

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Most Read