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NEWS: Federal election expected on May 2

Council of Canadians health campaigner Adrienne Silnicki commenting on the budget at the Canadian Labour Congress’ Budget Watch in Halifax.

Council of Canadians health campaigner Adrienne Silnicki commenting on the budget at the Canadian Labour Congress’ Budget Watch in Halifax.

CBC.ca reports, “With the government unwilling to amend its budget, all three opposition leaders said they are prepared to defeat Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s minority government on a motion of non-confidence Friday. …If the government loses a vote of a non-confidence on Friday, the prime minister is prepared to head to Rideau Hall on Saturday to ask Gov. Gen. David Johnston to dissolve Parliament and issue a writ of election, CBC News has learned. An election campaign would begin immediately, with an election date of Monday, May 2.”

Today the Council of Canadians said that the failure of the federal budget to meaningfully address climate, trade, water and health care, means these issues should become key election issues, says the Council of Canadians.

Spokespeople for the Council of Canadians issued the following statements in a media release in response to yesterday’s federal budget, and the likely federal election, on these key issues of concern:

CLIMATE: “The Canadian government’s record on the environment is downright unethical at a time of climate crisis – yesterday’s budget was more of the same,” says Andrea Harden-Donahue, Energy and Climate Justice Campaigner. “We desperately need a Canadian government that shows real leadership, this includes phasing out all subsidies to companies producing oil and gas, significant green infrastructure investments and plans to achieve deep emission reductions.”

TRADE: “The government offers no proof its aggressive free trade agenda produces jobs. In fact, exports have gone down and imports up with the majority of Canada’s free trade partners,” says Stuart Trew, Trade Campaigner. “An industrial policy of low corporate taxes and free trade is actually a non-policy. The Harper government once again failed to do what many other countries have done since the financial crisis, by attaching ‘buy Canadian’ conditions to federal infrastructure stimulus cash.”

WATER: “Despite being released on World Water Day, the budget was a great failure for water in Canada. It is an outrage that the budget has not allocated any new funding for First Nations drinking water given that there are 116 communities under drinking water advisories,” says Emma Lui, National Water Campaigner. “The government has only increased funding for the Great Lakes by a mere $2.5 million this year despite increasing pollution and other growing threats outlined in the International Joint Commission’s report earlier this month. There is no mention of funding for water infrastructure for municipalities, despite recent polling showing 78% of Canadians want this.”

HEALTH CARE: “Health care is anything but a top priority in this federal budget.  While no cuts to the provincial transfer of federal funding were made, no increases were granted either,” says Adrienne Silnicki, Health Care Campaigner. “With an election looming, Canadians need to be asking all political parties about their commitment to publicly funded health care. We need a government who will invest in comprehensive community care (home care and long-term care) and is willing to look at sustainable solutions to the current health care challenges, not a government who listens to the pharmaceutical lobbyists hoping to pad the pockets of their investors and shareholders. This election, let’s put someone in power who will invest in our health.”

Stay tuned.