Area MPs criticize federal budget

The federal Liberals' budget falls short as far northern B.C. MPs are concerned.

In a statement, Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies Conservative MP Bob Zimmer said the budget delivers a $28.5 billion deficit, inching the debt growing ever closer to $1 trillion and raise concern about the burden it will put on the next generation.

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Zimmer said he is also concerned with the removal of tax incentives for small oil and gas companies.

"At a point when the oil and gas sector in B.C. has just begun its recovery it's disappointing that the federal Liberal government would put that at risk," he said.

However, Zimmer welcomed removal of the Labour Market Impact Assessment processing fee for families seeking caregivers. Zimmer lobbied for the move when speaking to the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development.

"Today it was rewarding to see that the government was listening," Zimmer said.

Cariboo-Prince George Conservative MP Todd Doherty said the budget missed the mark.

"Instead of raising taxes, Justin Trudeau should focus on supporting policies that will create jobs for young Canadians," Doherty said in a statement. "In the last year Canadians aged 15-24 lost 42,000 full time jobs.

"Sadly, Liberal programs won't help the vast majority of Canadian workers and businesses who now face much more intense competition from a low-cost, low-tax United States."

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen called it a "back-load budget."

"A bunch of important spending doesn't happen until the fifth, sixth, 10th, 11th year from now, which is not really a commitment worth the paper it's printed on," he said during a teleconference with regional media.

More specifically, he said spending on more childcare spaces won't start for three years, there will be no funding for green energy projects until the next election.

Cullen said 1.3 million Canadians are out of work and carry the highest debt load in Canadian history. Yet, he said the Liberals did not act on a promise to close off a tax loophole involving payment of CEOs in stock options.

"It's cost us nearly $800 million a year," he said. "The Liberals promised to clamp down on this and they chose not to again."

And he said the government was in court Wednesday fighting an order that would see them spend more money on First Nations child welfare.

"We thought there would be the $150 million here in the budget. It's not," Cullen said. "So the Liberals have chosen to spend four or five times more money on a CEO tax loophole than they would on getting First Nations kids child welfare."

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