Skeena Bulkley-Valley MP expresses mixed feelings about federal budget

Taylor Bachrach in Terrace

The federal government released its budget this week, and it contains plenty of big promises -- not to mention plenty of spending.

Most notably, the Liberals announced a $30-billion plan to create a national childcare system that would see childcare costs for parents reduced to 10 dollars a day in five years.

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP and NDP caucus member Taylor Bachrach expressed mixed feelings about the budget. He's pleased to hear about the childcare program, but he wants to see the Liberals live up to their promise. 

"There are so many people that are struggling to cover the cost of childcare struggling with the lack of spaces for their children in the northwest, and hopefully we can see this really expedited," he said. "This is something that's good to see, but in the past we've seen the liberals break their promises on big things. So we're going to be holding them to account and making sure that this promise becomes a reality."

Bachrach also wondered why the budget didn't include any big investments towards a national Pharmacare program that could cover the costs of prescription drugs

"The Liberals have promised it for over 20 years and they promised it most recently in the 2019 budget, but now we see a real lack of follow-through and a lack of commitment in this most recent budget. They seem to be skipping around on these different topics."

The budget included an extension of the Canada Recovery Benefit program, which provides financial support to people affected by the pandemic. However, Bachrach questioned why the government is reducing those weekly payments from $500 a week to $300 in July.

"Right now we're in the third wave [of the pandemic]. There are a lot of provinces in Canada that are still really struggling with COVID, and we're not sure that we're going to be out of the woods by July. Those programs are still going to be needed."

One part of the budget that the Conservative Party has critiqued is its high level of spending -- it lists a deficit of $354.2 billion for the past fiscal year, and $154.7 billion for the current one.

Bachrach says a wealth tax could help pay for it.

"We don't think that ordinary working families should have to bear those costs. We think it's the wealthiest Canadians that should should do their part and should be asked to pay their share."

On funding for the Northwest, Bachrach praised the addition of $1 billion for the Univeral Broadband Fund to expand internet access in rural areas, as well as $650 million earmarked to protect wild pacific salmon.

The NDP is expected to support the budget in order to avoid an election.