Tbnewswatch Local News
Tuesday June 30 2015
5:25 PM EDT
2014-02-11 at 19:40

Budget falls short

By Matt Vis and Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com

The federal budget falls short of the podium in the eyes of MP Bruce Hyer.

The Green Party deputy leader from Thunder Bay-Superior North had a scathing review for the Conservative’s 2014 financial plan that was released on Tuesday when reached by phone from his Ottawa office.

“There are no gold winners or silver medals in this budget,” Hyer said.

“The economic growth in Canada right now is the lowest it has been since the Great Depression in the 1930’s. Our unemployment rate is above seven per cent and the youth unemployment rate is 14 to 15 per cent and we’re not doing well.”

MP John Rafferty (Thunder Bay-Rainy River) said the budget made it clear the federal government is not concerned about the region.

“Every other region in the country is mentioned in some way, shape or form but northern Ontario is completely forgotten by this government,” he said.

He pointed to the Ring of Fire and the forestry industry as two areas that drew minimal to no attention in the budget.

When presented in the House of Commons, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty described the budget as a “low tax plan” with a goal of achieving a balanced leger in 2015.

This year’s plan is close to balanced with a $2.9 billion deficit over forecasted expenditures of $279.2 billion.

Hyer will only believe talk of a balanced budget when one ends up in the black.

“This Finance Minister has not hit a deficit target he has predicted in six years,” Hyer said. “He hasn’t met a single deficit target and we’ve had six consecutive Conservative deficits.”

Rafferty believes the prioritization of a balanced budget may have been more important than services such as the Veterans Affairs offices that were closed last month.

“It was billed as the do-nothing budget and that’s exactly what we got. It was pretty disappointing all around,” Rafferty said.

“They’re clearly looking to the next budget in 2015 before the election."

Hyer listed a number of items absent from the budget that he believes would be beneficial to the region.

One of the most significant was nothing to provide alternatives to hospital care that would alleviate the often gridlocked Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, which has seen more than 40 days of over-capacity conditions.

“We have a regional health sciences centre that has broken a record for being over-capacity for well over a month and is in gridlock but there’s nothing for home care or community health care, new beds or senior care,” Hyer said.

In terms of infrastructure, Rafferty is hopeful some federal money will find its way to the region, where there is no shortage of projects looking for funding.

“We have a number of asks out from Northern Ontario and there are more asks coming,” he said.

Earlier Tuesday Rafferty delivered a letter to Transport Minister Lisa Raitt in regards to the James Street swing bridge and outlined the importance of the link to the Fort William First Nation to Thunder Bay.

However, Hyer did see some positives and awarded what he described as “mediocre bronze medals.”

One of those was the one-year extension of the 15 per cent Mineral Exploration Tax Credit, a program that Hyer would like to see continue longer into the future.

However, he said that was the lone item that jumped out during his preliminary budget examination that could be beneficial to the Ring of Fire.

While Hyer was supportive of the introduced Canada Apprentice Loan, he said he $100 million for 1,000 apprentices is not enough of an investment.

Rafferty said while he supports the expansion of rural and northern internet services, he’s not holding his breath that it will actually happen in the region.

There was a little bit more optimism locally.

From what she’s seen so far, Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce president Charla Robinson said there are some positives in the federal budget.

Facing a skills shortage, she’s hoping local businesses take advantage of the Canada Job Grant program, which was announced last budget but the federal government says it will now go it alone if the provinces don’t contribute. Expanding the student loan program to include apprenticeships will also help train the workforce, which will help business in the region but the entire community at large.

“That’s a good thing,” Robinson said.

The Building Canada Fund is also a positive as it helps municipal infrastructure, which in turn helps local business. Robinson said she’s also encouraged to see a commitment to expand broadband Internet access into rural areas.

The chamber will be looking for details in the budget over the coming days to see how it will impact the business community, Robinson said.

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We've improved our comment system.
The Badger Mountain Hermit says:
....quietly, Baie de Tonnerre shed ANOTHER five hundred jobs....Sudbury media had the guts to report this sad fact.
2/13/2014 8:12:54 AM
bill3990 says:
Ps -- seems to me that the Fed are giving money for research and other things both at the hospital and the university -- the gridlock is a provincial problem
2/12/2014 11:31:57 AM
Darrell says:
This Government is completely heartless & very irresponsible. Coyote Eyes Harper & 200+ of his elite gang are having a ball on their weird holy land pilgrimage, giving money away like popcorn while making Veterans cry back home. We have no helicopters or jets but did we ever spend a lot of money on nothing. The Action Plan program did make employment for the people who make the signs & commercials & that's it. Interesting to have Canadian Government signs that have the same colours as the Reform Conservative Party? You have Ministers in the Government that think starving children in Canada is not the Governments problem. This Government has lied countless times & Harper himself is very secretive. He won't even have a proper press conference without specific questions being asked & answered. Easy to save money when you cut & layoff 1/2 the Government. Canada Post completely gone to hell. Keep hearing about a Reform Senate but nothing has been done except by the Liberals.
2/12/2014 10:56:15 AM
rocketship says:
Regarding unemployment....The prairie provinces are crying for workers in many, many areas.
The federal & provincial gov'ts have poured money into training programs only to find that although people are taking advantage of the programs, they refuse to go to where the jobs are!
What's with that!!!!
2/12/2014 10:20:06 AM
tudor says:
s duncon, i have heard news reports that peg the transfer deficit from ontario to ottawa at 11 billion a year meaning ontario sends 11 billion more to ottawa than we get. so if that report is true than who exactly is carrying the load in canada. even if ontario were to break out even most of our challenges would be gone, now i am fine with a balanced budget at some point but i reserve the right to complain when it is done by eliminating a research station for the Great Lakes basin, and gives the shaft to veterans. this gov't only sees tax breaks as the panacea for all things. trickle down has been proven over and over to not work. we have some of the lowest tax rates in the developed world. it is not creating a strong econonmy and our CANADIAN economy is not doing well. That is harper's fault, not Ontario's as so many would like to suggest.
2/12/2014 8:33:49 AM
S Duncan says:
I believe there is much wrong within your statement. First off, Ontario is a welfare province. It is existing wholly on transfer payments from the Conservative provinces of Sask and Alberta. (whiners may mention that Alberta received those same payments in the past but they were only paid $3billion over a 10 year span while Ontario took over 36billion last year alone)

Trickle down has never been shown not to work on large scale, that's just left wing huff-po rhetoric. When you analyze the facts you quickly will see that trickle down does work on a large scale.

The truth is research stations are wastes of money. How much research do you need? Technology has replaced many of these redundant money wasters and we move one. The veterans tug at your heartstrings but the reality is none of those services offered are not offered elsewhere. Those offices were just plain redundant.

This is why we have an on target budget that will eliminate the deficit by 2015, just like promised. That's good
2/12/2014 8:54:32 AM
pc says:
Now as for Falling Short. Maybe look in the mirror.
You were elected as an NDP member. You had a hissy fit and now you are a Green member.
Now I think that is falling short for your constituents.
What ever the reason I had no problem with you sitting as an independent member but to switch to the Greens without a bi election was failing this riding. Now instead of being by your lonesome you are now a party of 2. Good step. By the way congrats on your new title. NOT.
2/12/2014 7:31:37 AM
CLETE says:
S Duncan if your not happy living here move out west with all the rest of the cons.
2/12/2014 7:12:46 AM
S Duncan says:
Im happy here without the interference with commie socialists like the NDP and green party embarrassing us.

If you look at an election map you'll see that Ontario gave the Conservatives their majority government.

but that didn't include thunder bay's communist/socialists.

and "orange wave"???

LOL! that ripple crashed into the banks of the St. Lawrence and that's the end of that.
2/12/2014 8:32:57 AM
Tbaylifer 1 says:
One more year and we can rid ourselves of commrade Harper and his lying cheating stealing regime. Then we will find out the truth about the budget. Bring on the orange wave.
2/12/2014 6:27:09 AM
pc says:
I seem to recall a new MRI with new technology being given to the Thunder Bay area meaning new jobs and that was not good enough for the NDP Greens and Libs of the area.
If the Conservatives had given the entire budget over to the NW Hyer and other politicians would have cried foul because they didn't raise taxes to give us more.
Instead of belly aching about the Feds. try talking to the Provincial Representatives. Have them reign in spending and maybe the North would get more. Keep electing Gravelle and Mauro and you get what you want on election day and then get to complain the rest of the cycle.
2/12/2014 5:56:06 AM
keiths31 says:
Thunder Bay could have been given $500 million in infrastructure and it still would have been a bad budget for the region. Doesn't matter what party is in power, if we have opposition members representing us they will ALWAYS say the budget is terrible for the region. The only time I can ever recall an opposition member saying the budget was good for us was when Joe Comuzzi said that about a Conservative budget.

But it really doesn't matter who is in power, the opposition will always say the budget falls short and the party in power will say it is a great budget That's the game...
2/12/2014 1:07:37 AM
S Duncan says:
Aww of course it does fall short to these professional tax hogs.

They would be happiest if we gave everything we have to support their dreams of a great communist society where they would preside over us all.

Luckily for Canada we have democratically elected a Strong, Stable, MAJORITY, Conservative Government headed by an actual economist named Stephen Harper. A government that for the first time in my life has lived or is living up to every one of its campaign promises.

I wouldn't expect too many in Thunder Bay to grasp the importance of that because round here, everybody just asks for handouts and welfare from our government. That's why we elect NDP and liberals all the time.

Now if we had been part of the winning team? Who knows how it would have paid off for us?
2/11/2014 10:52:29 PM
Ringettemom says:
As opposed to being a constant whiner??

I don't know about anyone else but I am pretty sick of you on every post spewing the same trash and calling people hogs, pigs, other names etc.
Did you not learn manners growing up? Learn to respect others in your Catholic upbringing? You sure didn't learn to show care and concern for fellow humans.
You're just obsessed with anyone who isn't conservative and insulting people who actually stand behind their names and try to do something for fellow people.

You need a life. Desperately.
2/12/2014 2:51:01 AM
S Duncan says:
Oh look, youre trying to make this all about ME again, huh?

You shouldn't pretend to know anything about me because the truth is you have no clue.

Do you want to talk about the budget and the whining that Bruce and John are doing? or do you just want to obsess over me?
2/12/2014 8:26:36 AM
Heinicke says:
You aren't the only one fed up with this ignorant troll.
Btw he said he is Muslim not catholic.
The guy has obviously never looked at Harper gov spending if he is wahwahwahing about welfare in ontario. Proportionate favouritism spending in Ottawa is absolutely insane and disgusting.
2/12/2014 10:56:16 AM
S Duncan says:
Rude? perhaps. Ignorant? nope. You should learn the difference.

and who is the troll? you or ringettemom?

The way it looks from here is both of you have no manners and seem to be obsessed with me and my comments. If you cannot manage to get by in a world that has differing views and the ability to voice them so clearly perhaps you need to stay indoors and cower under a blanket.

or you can easily just skip over my comments?

or you can choose to join in the discussion and discuss the issues that affect all of us?

if the government of the day appears to favour their constituents its because they are doing what they were elected to do. Its not favouritism to act on the policys you campaigned on, its acting appropriately.

if you didnt vote for those policys then of course it seems like favouritism. If the NDP had won do you think Quebec wouldnt be focused on by them since thats where their votes came from.

Now do you want to discuss me some more?

or these issues?
2/12/2014 12:05:37 PM
DougMyers says:
"has lived or is living up to every one of its campaign promises"

Apparently you missed most of their promises because they have many that they are not living up to or even talking about.

Let's start with the simple one that Stephen Harper himself promised, accountability and transparency. We all thought Jean was the king of sweeping it all under the rug but Harper has eclipsed even him.
2/12/2014 2:55:38 PM
S Duncan says:
you have accountability and transparency.

Do you think you should be able to crawl into his bed at night too?

I will say he's pretty tight lipped with the media but can you blame him? The left wing media is ridiculous with how they behave and their double standards. Trudeau admits to illegal drug use and the media gives him praise, Rob Ford admits to it and its a maelstrom of left wing attacks.

You'd have to be insane to believe there is no left wing media bias in this country (or the USA) so by keeping limits on his exposure Harper is doing well with it.

He is also letting his actions do the talking. The actions of this government are accountable and transparent. They are accountable to those whom elected them because they're part of the team.

To those who didn't elect them (like Thunder Bay) they will always seem "unaccountable, and opaque"

That's politics. Always has been that way, always will be that way.

So what are they not living up to? Senate reform? They're trying hard!
2/13/2014 10:18:00 AM
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