Parents, workers and advocates across healthcare and housing sectors are celebrating some key wins the NDP secured from the Liberal government in Budget 2022.
“It is day worth smiling about if you’re a kid or parent. By the end of the year all children under 12 will have access to free, quality dental care. The Liberals and Conservatives voted against dental care last year, but we are using our power to get some terrific results for Canadians” said Cannings of the new federal budget’s implementation of the NDP dental plan.
Cannings also noted sizable investments his party negotiated around affordable housing. This includes investments for one million people to receive $500 to help pay their rent; an additional $1.5 billion to build new affordable homes; a ban on foreign home buyers for the next two years; $4.3 billion for Indigenous housing; and changes that allow Canadians to save hundreds of dollars a month in rent reduction.
Cannings also celebrated his party’s successful efforts to make highly profitable banks pay a little bit more. In Budget 2022 this will bring an additional $6.1 billion in revenue.
“The pandemic has taken a toll on Canadians. The cost of living is soaring and people are frustrated that so many have found themselves worse off, while those at the very top have only increased their wealth and power. Canadians want us to fight to make their lives better, and this is exactly what we have done” said Cannings.
However on the climate crisis front, Cannings overwhelmingly criticized the Liberal budget for taking the country in the wrong direction. “We need to stop giving billions to big oil companies and start investing in workers and in green energy. The new subsidies they are offering to companies using carbon capture will cost Canadians twice what dental care for all would cost.”
Further critique of the federal budget by Cannings included the discontinuation of COVID supports for the tourism sector this May. These supports were designed before the omicron wave hit and many operators will not have recovered by then. Cannings also pointed out that far too many small businesses, such as independent travel advisors or businesses that started during the pandemic, have fallen through the cracks and are still struggling.
On a subject heavily impacting our local area, Cannings said he was very disappointed the Liberals ignored the advocacy of MPs across the region in their efforts to secure a longer program to assist the wine industry that has been hit with significant costs associated with a new application of the excise tax due to trade agreements.
But not all was lost on the excise tax front. Cannings had a big win with regards to his recent private members bill to remove the Excise Tax from low-alcohol beer. Budget 2022 proposes to do just that as of July 1, 2022. This will bring the tax treatment of low-alcohol beer into line with the treatment of wine and spirits with the same alcohol content and make Canada’s practices consistent with our trade partners.
“I’m proud of what we have accomplished. We used our power to get results the Liberals wouldn’t have delivered on their own. Our kids will get dental care, we’re starting a national pharmacare program, and higher taxes on big banks will help fund this. This is what electing New Democrats gets you and your family. Today's budget includes some big help for Canadians, but it isn't enough. We will keep fighting to build a brighter future that includes everyone – a future that's more affordable, equal, hopeful and secure” said Cannings.
Dick Cannings MP is the MP for the South Okanagan—West Kootenay