MP Atamanenko weighs in on budget

BC Southern Interior MP Alex Atamanenko - File photo
BC Southern Interior MP Alex Atamanenko
— image credit: File photo

Pension-related issues were among the points touched upon by the BC Southern Interior Member of Parliament when contacted by phone in Ottawa on March 29.It was the day the governing tories delivered a budget in which sizable cuts were featured, including yearly trimming of over $5 billion by 2015. "It didn't really surprise me because the Prime Minister did say he was going to increase the age of old age security (from 65 to 67)," stated the NDP MP."

The age of eligibility will rise gradually, but the change is not designed to affect anyone aged 54 or older as of March 31, 2012. Something concerning Atamanenko is the budget provision allowing for duty-free shopping limits intended to rise this summer."I think it will hurt a lot of our small businesses, where people are enticed to go across the border to shop," he said. "That certainly doesn't help with our 'buy-local' campaigns."

One day visitors to the U.S. will see their duty free limit rise to $200. Should they stay two days or longer, the limit will jump to $800.The trimming of the public payroll has Atamanenko somewhat concerned as well."Apparently there will be 19,200 jobs lost in the public sector over three years," he stated, "seven thousand only by attrition, so most by layoffs. If you transpose that to our area... I'm not even sure how many federal government jobs we have, but it's very possible that we will have people who have had full-time good-paying jobs in our area (losing their jobs) which could be huge. That bothers me."

The MP, in a late Thursday call also mentioned environment-related actions as cause for concern."Eighty-eight point two million dollar cuts to Environment Canada by 2015... the streamlining of the whole environment assessment process... this could be very detrimental, obviously to the environment when considering projects such as the Enbridge pipeline, or others."


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