(OTTAWA) – Innovation and Environment Canada are the big winners, but the continuation of fossil fuel subsidies and lucrative stock option loopholes are unaffected by Budget 2017.
“For the first time, we’re seeing a focus on adaptation to climate change in this year's budget,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands). "I'm pleased to see signficant investment in clean tech and climate initiatives, and limited funding for improvements to our east-west electricity grid.
“Taking into account losses to revenue this year due to the free admission to National Parks, Parks Canada is also seeing a significant investment for capital acquisitions, although more money is needed on a budgetary basis for increasing scientific capacity.
“However, we cannot measure Prime Minister Trudeau against years of inaction under the Harper administration. Rather, the benchmark was set by the progressive conservative agenda of Brian Mulroney. By this measure, commitments to funding toward protection of the Great Lakes Area and Lake Winnipeg are welcome, but still fall far short.
“I'm pleased that VIA Rail will receive $873.5 million over the next three years to support low-carbon travel. And as MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands, I’m delighted to see increased funding for the the Sidney Centre for Plant Health, a research facility that I fought hard to keep open during budget cuts under the previous administration.
“Yet this budget misses other low-hanging fruit, like the renewal of the eco-energy retrofit grant, and rebates for electric and hybrid vehicles. These programs would empower Canadians to take individual action in the collective fight against climate change. We’re also seeing no movement on the administration's plan to ‘phase-out’ fossil fuels, and we will maintain subsidies to the LNG industry through 2024.
“This budget needed to more aggressively target the elimination of the deficit by implementing simple revenue generating policies, such as a tax on sugary beverages. This tax would also go a long way toward improving the health of the Canadian population, and in particular children.”
Jean-Luc Cooke, Small Business Critic, said: “Small businesses employ half of Canadians. Many small businesses will be disappointed with this administration for failing -– two budgets in a row – to lower the small business tax rate from 11 percent to 9 percent, as promised by each of the five major political parties in the 2015 general election. As a party, we’re also disappointed to see the continuance of stock option tax loophole, which the Liberals promised to close during the 2015 election campaign.”
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