MP begins campaigning

Jean Crowder to focus on child care, pensions, environment

The opposition parties are not happy with the federal budget announced last week and now a non-confidence motion has triggered an election slated for May 2.

“I was disappointed we were not able to find a way to work together,” said Jean Crowder, Nanaimo-Cowichan NDP MP.

Now, Crowder will be hitting the campaign trail and topping her list is pensions, child care and the environment.

“We hear from seniors who need more income and it’s just not there,” Crowder said.

The New Democrats proposed an increase to the Canadian Pension Plan and Guaranteed Income for Seniors — both of which were not included.

Her party was looking for $700 million in guaranteed income for seniors, not the $300 million allowed by the Conservatives.

“That’s $50 a month, not a significant affect on a person living in poverty.”

She said it was token increase that doesn’t go far “in terms of addressing seniors living in poverty.”

The NDP also wanted to see the Canada Pension Plan doubled, as it seems to be the most reasonable way to address retirement income, Crowder said.

Crowder said she was also disappointed in the lack of child care, home heating costs, affordable housing and the shortage money for doctors and nurses in the budget.

“I asked to see 1,000 doctor spaces and 7,000 nurses across Canada,” she said. “We know there’s a serious shortage in accessing physicians and many people in our community do not have a family doctor.”

She said adding the spaces would be a tangible and concrete way to make a difference.

Along with the $300 million for GIS, the budget proposed a tax credit on 15 per cent of $3,000 for volunteer firefighters who put in 200 hours of service, hiring incentives for small business by offering up to $1,000 in the cost of EI premiums for new employees.

The Family Caregiver Tax Credit was also on the table. It would save people caring for sick or disabled relatives about $300 a year.

And for doctors and nurses willing to work in rural and remote areas, the budget would forgive around $9 million in student loans.