MP Richard Cannings has some concerns about the federal budget which was released yesterday. While it does announce new programs such as the First Time Home Buyers Incentive and the Canada Training Benefit, the South Okanagan-West Kootenay representative asks whether it will actually make an impact? For example, the training benefit only provides $250 a year.

“I’m sure people will take advantage of this. The people that could afford it and were going to get those skills training, they’ll take advantage of it. But I don’t know who many people will actually decide, okay, here’s $250, I think I will book off work for a few weeks and take this training.”

Another issue he took with the budget was with the lack of action on a national Pharmacare strategy.

“They just merged two government agencies that deal with the purchasing of prescriptions drugs for various programs across the county to make things more efficient I guess. But, there’s nothing in here about creating coverage for people.”

The Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare was announced in Budget 2018. Finance Minister Bill Morneau stated yesterday that the government will work with provinces, territories and stakeholders on the creation of a Canadian Drug Agency, which could use its bulk buying power to negotiate better prescription drug prices on behalf of Canadians.

One initiative MP Cannings was happy to see in the Liberals’ budget was a $5,000 incentive to purchase an electric vehicle. However, he feels there’s still not enough being invested into electric vehicle infrastructure and if there aren’t enough charging stations people won’t be comfortable purchasing one, especially in an area like the West Kootenay.

He also highlight funding for broadband as potentially positive, but adds the devil is in the details.

“Not very much money and it’s over a long period of time. I don’t know how it will effect…There’s some very innovative programs going on in the West Kootenay through Columbia Basin Trust and their broadband subsidiary… how that will help their efforts.”

Overall, he says the Federal budget was full of half measures and failed to address important areas like Pharmacare and assistance to homeowners to make their houses more energy efficient.