Vancouver Island MP content with some Liberal announcements, feels more still needed

North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney, (Supplied by North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney)

Following the fall economic statement from the federal government Thursday, a Vancouver Island MP says there are other ways the government can aid its citizens.

Deputy prime minister and finance minister Christia Freeland announced the statement, showing forecasted spending of over $30 billion in the next six years.

The spending will be used to help low to moderate-income Canadians through the Canada Workers Benefit, cutting student loan interest rates and GST tax refunds among others.

North Island-Powell River NDP MP Rachel Blaney says while those actions are beneficial, more needs to be done for seniors care, Indigenous peoples and energy costs as Canadians feel a financial pinch.

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Blaney says the government is still using a two-tiered system for seniors where those between 65 and 74 years old receive different old age security amounts than those 75 years and older.

Concerning costs of home heating and removing GST, Blaney says she was disappointed to not see a lift of GST on heating costs.

While Blaney admits removing the five per cent tax would not go far enough for British Columbians, it is an easily controllable measure.

“The five per cent is something that the federal government has a very quick lever that they can move and so when we see this kind of urgency, we know there’s a short-term gain and there’s a long-term gain,” said Blaney.

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Blaney says the federal Conservatives have proposed cutting federal carbon taxes in provinces. However, she says in B.C. carbon pricing is in the provincial jurisdiction and cutting federal tax would not do much.

On top of taking out the GST for home heating, Blaney points out some organizations have been doing well during the pandemic and inflation. She says she wants accountability so Canadians are not paying more than they should.

“We’re seeing some oil and gas companies, some of the big box grocery stores, actually bringing in more profit than they have before inflation,” said Blaney.

“We saw the report that came out that said about $36 million that could have been claimed through taxes was not. CRA lost it through tax loopholes.

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“It’s finding a balance between those two things and just making sure everyone is held to the same standard.”

Blaney adds along with the push for home heating GST cuts and accountability for larger corporations, she will be pushing for more health care funding and for the government to follow through on promises for an Indigenous national housing strategy.