FALL RIVER: The federal budget is an “investment into Canadians” according to the local Liberal MP for Sackville-Preston-Chezzetcook.
When asked about a lack of spending in the budget for this year, Darrell Samson was quick to say the budget was not a “political budget.” Some political media pundits said the budget looked to be more gearing up for a spending spree come Budget 2019 just in time for the election.
“Some people might interpret it that way. I don’t,” said Samson. “I really feel we’re on the path of doing what we said we would during our four year mandate. We’re moving the projects we said we would and they’re all coming together.
“It’s more of a four year plan that we committed top. We won’t get it all done, but we’re on track. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get as many of our commitments that we made done before the next election.”
Three main things stood out for MP Darrell Samson in the budget, titled Gender Equality. It had a spotlight on bringing the women’s perspective to the table and getting more women and young girls in the work force and supporting them.
Some of the highlights of the federal budget, announced Feb. 27 by Finance Minister Bill Morneau, for Samson included: rural broadband investment in N.S., which will be increased; investment in helping keep the damaging Spruce budworm at bay and out of N.S.
“We’re investing to make sure we’re doing what we can to ensure the spread of this stops or slows down so we don’t lose our forestry,” he said. “Forestry is an important in N.S., and Atlantic Canada.”
He pointed to the 700,000 new jobs created since the Liberals took power, and the Unemployment rate standing at 5.7 per cent which is the lowest in 40 years. He said the tax-free Child Care Benefit that his government put in place last year has assisted families to the tune of $5.6 million alone in the Sackville-Preston-Chezzetcook riding.
“Our economy is performing the best in the G7 countries,” said Samson.
Samson said the budget released last month tries to add to what they have already done to continue to help out Canadians from West to East.
“We continue to stimulate the economy. We continue to create good, solid conditions for investments where people and companies can invest,” he said.
He spoke of the major investment in black Canadian youth, something he doesn’t recall ever seeing in the budge previous. Samson said the communities haven’t been supported as much in the past as they should have, and the funding in this year’s budget is a start.
Samson was pleased to the Service Dog tax credit included, a battle he has fought to get support for since he took office some two years ago.
He explained about the fight from Medric Cousineau of the Royal Canadian Air Force and founder of Paws Fur Thought, which helps veterans get qualified psychiatric service dogs. He wrote a book on it and a few years ago he walked from Eastern Passage to Ottawa to make his case.
“This tax credit he was pushing for it, and I was pushing for it,” he said. “We got it in this budget and that’s really important. That’s another part of democratic success where people on the ground told us what some of the major issues are.”
Samson also touched on the investment that the budget puts forward with autism. That funding is $20 million for the creation of a national autism strategy.
“This investment we hope will be well received,” he said. “There needs to be a lot more support for families who have some of these challenges in those areas.”
He said that his fellow MLAs heard Canadians when they were asking for a national pharma-care program—although more work still is required.
“I’m not saying we’re there yet, but we’re heading in that direction,” he said. “That would be a major accomplishment.”
Samson acknowledged the government is deficit financing again, but he countered naysayers by saying it’s not as much as the year before; the economy is strong.
“We are trying to put programs in place, major projects, investments because that’s what Canadians value,” he said. “As we move forward you will see the economy continue to grow.
“As my father always said you have to spend money to make money, and I think we’re seeing the result of our spending now and it’s going to continue forward.”