The 2018-2019 budget was recently released in April and I had the opportunity to attend on behalf of COPE 397. After the massive cuts that the province imposed last year in the budget, a collective breath was held as Minister Harpauer rose to deliver this year’s budget. For members of COPE 397, there was little hope or inspiration in this budget that the government is on the mend from the disaster of financial mismanagement that it has put this province in.
The increase of $30 million for education in the province would have been a good news story, if it hadn’t been CUT by $54 million last year. NDP opposition critic Cathy Sproule put it best when she made the analogy that it was like taking a dollar from your pocket and expecting you to be happy when you offer to return 50 cents back.
The government also took the budget opportunity to announce individualized funding for autism, which also would have been a good news story….if they hadn’t announced the same thing last year and not delivered on their promise to have this funding in place a year ago.
Numbers don’t lie.
The taxation disaster that this government is encouraging continues with this budget. Corporate tax revenues went from $1 BILLION to $621 MILLION this year, however, implementing the PST on insurance policies, food, clothing, and all the other things that working families need went UP from $1.29 billion to over $2 billion this year alone. It is so evident where this governments priorities are; the numbers just don’t lie.
The 2018 budget was a chance for this government and this new Premier to outline their vision. To change the path of the province to be more inclusive and fair, and this is now a chance lost. Cuts to social programs, a lack of hope and inspiration for the future and a blatant disregard to the mismanagement that put this province into a deficit in the first place.
I would hope that all members take a moment to consider what this budget means for the next year, a bargaining year for many members. This is OUR money. They aren’t spending their own paycheques, they are spending a portion of OUR paycheques, every one of them. It’s high time that they are held responsible for the choices they make, the mistakes they make, the mismanagement of OUR money.