“This is a fantastic budget,” says the M.P. for Hastings-Lennox and Addington Mike Bossio. “Especially for rural Canadians.”
He says it continues with the government’s goal to improve the lives of low and middle-income Canadians. He points to the 825,000 people that have been “lifted out of poverty” and the over 900,000 new jobs that have been created. The unemployment rate in the country sits at just under 6-percent, which is the lowest in over 40 years. “Our plan is working,” Bossio says.
He points to the $1.7 billion that will be invested in the Connect to Innovate program as a highlight of the budget. He says that is a part of improving digital infrastructure in rural municipalities and getting high-speed internet to those residents. “This levels the playing field,” Bossio says. “This is something that is near and dear to my heart, and that I have pushed for from the very beginning.”
The budget also will see a one-time increase in gas tax funding. That will mean Hastings County and Lennox and Addington County will see a $5.2 million increase this year. “Our rural municipalities face crumbling and ageing infrastructure that keeps them from growing their populations, enticing new businesses, and ensuring their rural sustainability,” Bossio says. “They need to know that they have support from across governments to help them pay for crucial repairs and developments, whether to roads, bridges, water and wastewater, or facilities.”
Bossio also explains how seniors face challenges in their retirement. The 2019 budget proposes to extend the guaranteed income supplement earnings exception starting in 2020-21. “It’s going to enable our seniors to live a much more comfortable retirement,” Bossio says.
“How do we increase competitiveness? How do we increase productivity? how do we create a fairer society?” Bossio asks. He says those questions are answered in 2019’s budget and the budgets the Liberals have put forward the past three years. “The plan is working so (we will) keep investing in the same areas that are benefiting Canadians,” Bossio says.
The budget does come with a deficit of $19.8 billion, which is $200 million more than what was forecasted last year. In the 2019 budget, the Liberals project a gradual reduction in the deficit with it sitting around $11.4 billion by 2023-24. One of then-candidate Justin Trudeau promises while on the campaign trail in 2015 was to have a $1 billion surplus by 2019.