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MPs react to 2023 budget

By Adam Riley Mar 29, 2023 | 8:30 PM

CafeCredit.com / CC

Reactions are in regarding the 2023 Federal Budget and as expected its split along party lines by MPs here in the Northwest.

Thunder Bay – Superior North MP Patty Hajdu is calling the budget document a win for Canadians struggling with the cost of living.

Speaking with media after the budgets release, she addressed the hazards the government faced when directing $2.5 billion towards a grocery rebate program, which will provide up to $467 for families, $234 for single Canadians, and $255 for seniors.

“This is a delicate balance, economists will say that if you pour too much money into the economy right now you can actually fuel inflation. So what we’re trying to do is get that balance right.”

Hajdu notes while some may criticize the government for the rebate program instead of the stepping in to limit price increases at major grocers, entities like the Competition Bureau are there to investigate and enforce those issues.

Meanwhile Conservative MP Eric Melillo,  who represents Kenora, says the federal budget hurts local residents as much as it helps them.

He notes the grocery rebate program will be offset by an increase in the carbon tax.

“They’re really making it more difficult for people to get by. The government, on April 1st, will be increasing the carbon tax so that will make gas, groceries, home heating, a lot of essentials even more expensive. So what we’re asking the government to do is to stop taking money out of Canadian’s pockets in the first place.”

It will come as no surprise, the Conservatives will not be supporting the budget, specifically according to Melillo, because it adds to Canada’s deficit.

This year the deficit is expected to be over $40 billion which will bring the countries debt to just under $1.2 trillion.

However despite it being a high tax, high spending budget, Melillo reluctantly admits there are a few good elements to the budget for the Northwest, including more dollars for FedNor.

“It appears to be an allocation involved to all the regional economic development agencies. It remains to be seen at this point how much of a percentage Northern Ontario’s agency will get from that or where that allocation will go, but there is certainly the potential for positives out of that.”

A big part of the 2023 budget is the inclusion of a $13 billion expanded dental care plan, a key point of an agreement with the federal New Democrats, which will provide up to nine million Canadians with coverage by the end of the year.

Thunder Bay – Rainy River MP Marcus Powlowski says he is happy to see its inclusion, and recalls times as a physician where dental care became healthcare.

“People would come int with dental problems, you could give them some Tylenol and some antibiotics but you couldn’t take their teeth out for them or solve their dental problem. It’s certainly gonna be a great benefit and welcomed by a lot of people.”

Powlowski is also glad to see $370 million in forestry support over three years and funding to identify high risk flooding areas, which he notes would hit home for residents in the Rainy River and Kenora areas following the 2022 flood.


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