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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Nexii roof panel is lifted during construction of a Starbucks in Abbotsford. Alexzi Building Solutions will be building a manufacturing plant in Langford or North Cowichan to produce the sustainable construction panels. (Photo courtesy of Alexzi Building Solutions)
Langford eyed for facility to make green building alternative to concrete

Langford, North Cowichan possible sites for plant to create sustainable construction panels

Local MP Elizabeth May says the public has a right to know the identity of the company that plans to operate the massive warehouse proposed for Sidney on airport lands but residents who want to stop the project would probably have to go through the courts. (Black Press Media File)
MP Elizabeth May says public has right to know identity of Sidney warehouse operator

Residents wanting to stop the project would probably have to go through the courts, said May

Bukwila by Art Thompson, set at the steps of Lansdowne campus’ Wilna Thomas Cultural Centre, has been welcoming students to campus since 1997. (Photo courtesy of Camosun College)
World-renowned artist’s legacy lives on at Camosun College

Art Thompson made untold contributions toward Indigenous education, art and advocacy

Did you know, according to the CRD, every person produces an average of 185–200 litres of wastewater per day? Here’s where most of it gets treated, at the new wastewater treatment facility at McLoughlin Point in Esquimalt. (CRD image)
View Royal signs on to wastewater funding plan

Capital Regional District requesting to borrow up to $34.3 million to upgrade infrastructure

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Island Health has confirmed COVID-19 exposures at Ecole des Deux Mondes in Campbell River on May 4 and 5, and at Mill Bay Nature School in Mill Bay on April 28, 29, 30 and May 3. (Metro Creative photo)
Two new COVID-19 school exposures confirmed by Island Health

Health authority contacting anyone exposed at Ecole des Deux Mondes, Mill Bay Nature School

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

The dash cam footage, taken May 7 at 8:18 a.m. belonged to the driver of a southbound vehicle that recently travelled out of the tunnel. (Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dash cam captures dramatic rollover crash on Highway 99

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Chevy stranded on a ledge above a rocky canyon at Mimi Falls near Logan Lake, April 28, 2021. (Photo credit: Margot Wikjord)
Police officer and fire chief team up in risky rescue of stranded dog near Logan Lake

Chevy, a rescue dog, needed rescuing again after getting stuck on a ledge above rocky canyon

Police were on the scene of a fatal shooting in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. government to give more than $8 million for programs to curb gang violence

221 not-for-profit projects led by local governments and school districts among others will receive a one-time grant

Gord Judson steers his log truck down a forest service road, using two-way radio and call signals to mark his position for oncoming traffic. (B.C. Forest Safety Council)
Planning some B.C. wilderness fishing? Don’t catch a log truck

Remote recreation areas bracing for heavy pandemic pressure

Most Read