While the federal budget brought down June 6 by the Conservative government was pretty much a re-run of its March version, Skeena-Bulkley Valley New Democrat MP Nathan Cullen said budget day doesn’t tell the whole story.
“Where I get really interested is when you get all the different agencies of government and what their actual spending plans are,” he explained.
When those come out he will be looking specifically at expenditures that benefit the Northwest such as further investment in the Prince Rupert container port and the Northwest transmission line.
And if financing for projects like that end up being postponed, “that indicates to me a government that’s starting to fall asleep on the job, starting to get too comfie with power.
As for the government’s commitment to cut $4 billion a year from its expenditures, Cullen warned, “The devil is going to be in the details.”
He said the NDP had asked what was on the chopping block but didn’t get any useful answer.
“I think they (government) have a pretty good idea, they just don’t want to tell Canadians the hard news.”
And in the meantime the Conservatives are handing out another $2 billion in tax cuts to businesses which are making the most money.
“We’re going to have a tax rate that’s going to be less than half of what it is in the Untied States,” he said.
Yet the government says it has to cut more from corporate taxes when the “competitive rate” has already been not only achieved, but exceeded.
“What is it exactly they are still hoping for?” Cullen asked. “You’re not going to create any more jobs by continuing to cut. It doesn’t make any sense. It’s more ideology than it is economics.”
As for the proposed cuts, he said while money doesn’t solve everything, “cutting back to the point where the DFO (federal Fisheries) can’t do its basic job means criminals start running our rivers and that’s what’s happened on the Fraser.”
Cullen feared that if government reduced monitoring and science, then it would lose further control of the fishing industry.
“It’s a recipe for further disaster,” he said.
Cullen said we had already see the decimation of hatchery programs even though “they have great returns to the Canadian public and the environment.”
And that’s before this promised big round of cuts to come.
“I think it’s only going to get worse,” he warned. “There are going to be some dark days ahead.”