2012 03 29
Conservative budget slashes health care, pensions
Stephen Harper promised to create jobs, instead he slashes vital services Canadians rely on
OTTAWA —NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair today slammed Stephen Harper’s Conservatives for introducing a budget that recklessly cuts the vital services that Canadians rely on—such as Old Age Security and health care.
“Stephen Harper promised jobs and growth, but delivered reckless cuts. There’s nothing on jobs, nothing on inequality and nothing to strengthen our front-line health services. ” Mulcair said. “Mr. Harper is once again looking out for his friends, while he ignores growing inequality.”
The budget outlines the Conservative plan to raise the OAS eligibility age from 65 to 67, forcing seniors to work two years longer to make ends meet. It also unilaterally changes the funding formula for federal health transfers, short-changing provinces by a whopping $31 billion, opening the door to privatization and two-tier health care.
“The Conservatives ran an entire election campaign without saying a word to Canadians about their plans to cut OAS or health transfers,” Mulcair said. “Clearly Mr. Harper is not a man of his word.”
As recently as last June, Mr. Harper solemnly stated in the House of Commons “We will not cut pensions. We will not cut transfers to the provinces for major programs such as health care.”
Mulcair said New Democrats would oppose the Conservative budget unless it was amended to focus on the priorities of Canadians. New Democrats are calling on the Conservatives to increase targeted incentives to create good jobs, protect retirement security and provide the stable funding necessary to allow provinces to hire more doctors and nurses.
“This budget attacks the very institutions that make Canada what it is,” Mulcair said. “Conservatives want to balance the books on the backs of seniors who can’t retire with dignity, and families without a family doctor. New Democrats will hold them accountable for that.”