Budget victories a start, says Michael, but much work still needed
NDP Leader Lorraine Michael (MHA, Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi) says she is gratified to see several of her party’s longstanding policies included in the latest provincial budget, but there are still many items that need urgent attention.
“Full-day kindergarten was part of our platform at least as far back as 2003, and replacing the student loan system with grants is something we have fought beside students for for more than a decade and a half,” Michael said today.
“The reduction in the small business tax and the small increase to income support rates were also pivotal in our last platform. And there are many things – from brushclearing to restoring the Residential Energy Efficiency Program to testing newborn children for cystic fibrosis – that we have raised in the House of Assembly in the last few years.
“It is gratifying to see government pay some attention to the messages we have been delivering on behalf of the people of the province.”
Michael says, however that while there are some victories in the budget, she has serious concerns.
“According to government’s own numbers, we have reached the peak of our prosperity. Unemployment is at 11.4 per cent, and they predict it will go up next year. All other indicators they give say numbers will stay flat until 2016, and then everything – household income, sales tax revenue, and housing starts, for example – will start to drop.
“I said yesterday we were expecting an election budget and perhaps that is what this budget is supposed to be, but there are still many ways this government has failed to meet the real needs of the province.”