Ray Fox, Liberal candidate for Battlefords-Lloydminster, says the federal budget does little to help middle- to lower-class citizens and fails to present a plan for jobs and growth that will benefit the residents in the constituency.
An example he gave was income splitting and how it is targeted for people in a particular wage bracket.
“I think in this particular instance, it’s a good enough budget for the Conservatives, that’s why they put it forward. But there are a few things that they missed that I feel needed some more attention,” said Fox.
“Like the income splitting, that’s geared to people in a specific wage bracket, which the middle class or below the middle class if you will, can never afford to have that anyway. They would never be able to have the $10,000 to put away in savings, so taking it from $5,000 to $10,000 doesn’t really help anybody.”
Another issue Fox had with the budget was a lack of attention to railway infrastructure. He says he’s noticed trains backed up in the city of North Battleford with about 70 (estimated) oil cars at a time and also pointed to derailments in Ontario, which have caused ecological damage in the area.
Fox said he wonders what will happen if energy prices go back up and the pressure on railway infrastructure increases as they ship more oil across the country.
“It’s sad to say that nothing has been put toward trying to shore that up. On the one hand, the government is betting that oil prices are going to go back up. That’s how they presented their budget, they’re not always gong to stay at this level, they’re going to go up at some point in time and they’ll be able to afford the budget that they presented,” he said.
“When the price does go up and we need to be able to carry more oil to the market, what’s going to protect this infrastructure?”
Involving unemployment, Fox says that for the First Nations, the picture for youth in the area is worse than even before the recession. He says according to the CIBC, the job quality in Canada is the lowest it has been in 25 years.
“It looks like as much as we’re talking about trying to get people through post-secondary school, there’s no job for them to go to. We can educate the heck out of everybody but if they have no way to be able to apply that education to something that is going to be useful, we’re missing another point there, I think.”
He says the Liberals have come up with some good policy and when the party rolls out their agenda, he thinks people are going to be pleasantly surprised. Fox said he thinks the Conservative government has been in office too long and have become old, tired and repetitive and are losing touch with democracy.
“We’ve got our prime minister going up against our Supreme Court, for example. You can’t do that. No matter who you are. I mean, this is still democracy here and I think more and more we’re leaning against some kind of military state in this country,” he said. “We’re at war with people we don’t even know. I mean, we’re not even sure who the heck we’re at war with anymore.”
Fox said he thinks under Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau Canada will have a better plan, focused on supporting those who need it the most and that has been their battle-cry all the way along.