A dozen budgets later not much has changed

Divisions make Jean Crowder feel like she is leaving Ottawa was unfinished business

After a dozen takes on critiquing federal budgets as an opposition MP, it’s not like Jean Crowder was expecting anything more satisfying this year.

That doesn’t make her last budget any easier.

Crowder walked away from Tuesday’s delivery of Stephen Harper’s latest financial plan for Canada feeling like the political chasm dividing the country may be larger than ever before.

And for someone who spend 11 years representing this community on Parliament Hill by calling for increased consensus and community building, it wasn’t the best of feelings.

“What was unusual about the delivery of this budget was it was way more partisan,” she said, referring to what she thought were pointed comments made during the budget speech. “Those veiled kind of shots haven’t been part of it before.”

The Nanaimo-Cowichan MP is retiring at the end of this term, which — with an election mandatory by this fall — could happen at almost any time now.

As for the budget itself, she said it is not as loaded with Easter eggs as one would expect from an election budget. For example, she points to money announced for transit that won’t actually be available until 2017. And she found it lacking in initiatives aimed at creating jobs that pay well.

Crowder said those buying into the take that this budget is aimed a benefiting the middle class need to take a second look. She said that concept is being supported by three items: income splitting for tax purposes, a doubled cap on tax-free savings accounts and increased tax credits.

She said income-splitting only really benefits the rich, and middle-class Canadians are carrying too much debt to take advantage of expanded TFSAs. The tax credits, meanwhile, don’t offset what Canadians are having to pay for cuts to funding in social programs and services.

“It was a bit of smoke and mirrors,” she said.

That said, she points to at least two aspects of the budget she believes will have a positive impact on local residents.

The first is a decision to relax regulations that force retirees to pull a significant amount of money out of their RSPs every year after age 71. She says that will allow them to keep more money.

The second is a reduction in tax on small business from 11 percent to nine percent.

“The lower business tax absolutely will (help) and that’s a positive thing.

Crowder, who is retiring mainly for family reasons, says her desire to tie up loose ends is not going to stand in her way of taking an extended holiday. She plans to stay in the local area and contribute to the community. But first she is taking the advice of friends and former MPs.

“I don’t think you can leave this job without thinking you have unfinished business,” she said. “I am taking six months off. People tell me ‘you are way more tired than you think you are.'”

 

A Conservative take

Mark MacDonald, Conservative candidate for the new Nanaimo-Ladysmith riding, called Tuesday’s budget a plan that should appeal to many.

MacDonald stressed what he considers to be the budget’s wide appeal, including tax credits for seniors and families.

“I think it’s good for everybody, there’s something in there for everybody,” he said. “You know, having five kids ourselves, it’s pretty pricey to raise a family, so any help that families can get to raise their kids at the price of things today is very helpful. .. this is the kind of budget I’d expect from an economist like Stephen Harper and I think it’s really great.”

— Spencer Anderson

Mark MacDonald, Conservative candidate for the new Nanaimo-Ladysmith riding, stressed what he considers to be the budget’s wide appeal, including tax credits for seniors and families.

“I think it’s good for everybody, there’s something in there for everybody,” he said. “You know, having five kids ourselves, it’s pretty pricey to raise a family, so any help that families can get to raise their kids at the price of things today is very helpful. .. this is the kind of budget I’d expect from an economist like Stephen Harper and I think it’s really great.”

– See more at: http://www.nanaimodailynews.com/divided-reaction-over-budget-in-mid-island-1.1830856#sthash.gJ25mPRk.dpuf

Mark MacDonald, Conservative candidate for the new Nanaimo-Ladysmith riding, stressed what he considers to be the budget’s wide appeal, including tax credits for seniors and families.

“I think it’s good for everybody, there’s something in there for everybody,” he said. “You know, having five kids ourselves, it’s pretty pricey to raise a family, so any help that families can get to raise their kids at the price of things today is very helpful. .. this is the kind of budget I’d expect from an economist like Stephen Harper and I think it’s really great.”

– See more at: http://www.nanaimodailynews.com/divided-reaction-over-budget-in-mid-island-1.1830856#sthash.gJ25mPRk.dpuf

Mark MacDonald, Conservative candidate for the new Nanaimo-Ladysmith riding, stressed what he considers to be the budget’s wide appeal, including tax credits for seniors and families.

“I think it’s good for everybody, there’s something in there for everybody,” he said. “You know, having five kids ourselves, it’s pretty pricey to raise a family, so any help that families can get to raise their kids at the price of things today is very helpful. .. this is the kind of budget I’d expect from an economist like Stephen Harper and I think it’s really great.”

– See more at: http://www.nanaimodailynews.com/divided-reaction-over-budget-in-mid-island-1.1830856#sthash.gJ25mPRk.dpuf