2016 federal budget: a missed opportunity to reduce social inequality

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet reacts to the first Liberal budget

MONTREAL – Hochelaga MP Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet says that, despite the rhetoric and the campaign promises, the first Liberal budget has proven to be a missed opportunity to deliver on hoped-for changes. “The Liberals have broken their promises on housing, home mail delivery and support for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The impact will certainly be felt in Hochelaga,” says Boutin-Sweet.

There is nothing in the 2016 budget to ensure that everyone has a roof over their head. “The Liberals have applied a band-aid solution by proposing minimal, temporary funding. Despite the amounts allocated for renovations to existing social housing, there is almost nothing to address the shortfall once social housing subsidies come to an end. In Hochelaga, hundreds of families will see their rents increase significantly and will have to choose between paying their rent or buying groceries. This is unacceptable,” said the New Democrat MP. Nonetheless, Boutin-Sweet welcomes the government's plan to move forward with the establishment of a national housing strategy—an idea proposed long ago by the NDP.

The government has not used the budget to announce a clear return to the generalist approach to tackling homelessness. You will recall that the Conservative government had unilaterally amended the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS). Many services continue to be jeopardized. In fact, the closure of the only emergency shelter in our riding and the elimination of eight beds at the Foyer des jeunes travailleurs et travailleuses de Montréal youth shelter are cause for concern.

With his hand on his heart, Justin Trudeau promised during the election campaign to restore home mail delivery. The NDP is disappointed that there is no mention of Canada Post in the budget. “Seniors and individuals with reduced mobility are being ignored by the Liberal government. Canadians are clearly opposed to these changes. It's yet another disappointment,” added Boutin‑Sweet.

Lastly, we are disappointed with the level of assistance for small and medium-sized enterprises. During the election campaign, the Liberals had taken up the NDP idea of reducing the tax rate for SMEs, Canada’s biggest creator of jobs, from 11% to 9%. That’s not what the budget shows: the tax rate for SMEs will be going from 11% to 10.5%.

- 30 -