Red Deer MP defends federal budget

Although a spring election is all but certain after the release of Budget 2011 Tuesday, Red Deer MP Earl Dreeshen defended the federal Conservatives’ vision of financially steering the country.

On Wednesday, Dreeshen said Canada’s Econonic Action Plan will have positive benefits for local families and job-creating businesses.

“Canada has weathered the global recession in a stronger position than nearly all major economies, with 480,000 new jobs created since July 2009,” he said, noting that the global economy remains relatively fragile. That’s the key reason an election would be “unnecessary,” he said.

“We need to stay the course to help create jobs and economic growth.”

Meanwhile, opposition parties made it clear they weren’t about to support the budget, which is being deliberated Wednesday in the House of Commons. A non-confidence motion could be held as early as Friday and an election would then likely be set for early May.

Jack Layton, NDP leader, said Prime Minister Stephen Harper missed the opportunity to make life more affordable and help families still recovering from the fallout of the recession.

“Stephen Harper had an opportunity to address the needs of the hard working middle class families – sadly he chose to provoke an election, instead,” said Layton, who met with Harper Tuesday prior to the budget and put forward a set of measures “to help Canadians.”

Layton said the budget didn’t address the NDP’s proposals.

“This budget fails to strengthen CPP, provides no relief for heating bills and still leaves millions of Canadians without access to a family doctor,” said Layton. “And the GIS increase is a half-measure, leaving tens of thousands seniors still living in poverty.”

Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff said his party couldn’t support a budget that is “So out-of-touch with the priorities of Canadian families, while the government pours tens of billions into prisons, stealth fighters and corporate tax cuts.

“This budget spends 1,000 times more on fighter jets than post-secondary students, 1,000 times more on prisons than on crime prevention, more for a single day of the G20 than in a year for seniors, three times more on partisan advertising than on family care, and nothing for child care,” said Ignatieff.

“Any judgment on a budget is a judgment on the government delivering it. Canadians expect us to stand against the Harper regime’s repeated attacks on Parliament and our democracy,” said Ignatieff.

But in a statement, Dreeshen said Ignatieff has been trying to force an election arguing now is the time to increase taxes on Canadians.

“As we try to fully recover from the global recession, massive new Liberal tax hikes would stall Canada’s recovery, kill jobs, and increase the cost of living for families and seniors,” said Dreeshen.

“While the former Liberal government radically and recklessly slashed transfers to our home province, our Conservative Government continues to ensure Alberta has record support to provide the health care, educational and other important services families depend on.”