The Trojan Horse Budget Implementation Bill
The Conservative federal budget was one that was supposed to create jobs, yet upon closer look, in reality this budget is really doing the opposite. Because of this budget implementation bill, bill C-38, the economic security of many Canadians will be jeopardized and thousands will be forced to join those already looking for work.
While Prime Minister Harper says that this budget will create more jobs than it cuts, and that all job losses will be met with attrition, this budget actually cuts nine times more jobs than it creates. Furthermore, many government-funded groups and agencies will be forced to close their doors when this budget passes.
Along with cutting jobs, Bill C-38 also introduces changes to Old Age Security, which are especially harmful to anyone who is working right now. Instead of working until age 65, and enjoying the retirement that you have rightfully earned, you will now be forced to work two years longer.
Also hidden in this 400+ page Trojan Horse budget implementation bill are serious changes to our immigration system. Scarborough residents, and all Canadians, are proud of our multicultural heritage. While we all know that there is a serious immigration backlog, rather than presenting constructive changes that will help eliminate this backlog, Bill C-38 deletes the almost 300,000 skilled worker applications that are currently waiting to be processed. All applications submitted before 2008 will cease to exist. While there will be a refund of application fees to the applicants, this is little consolation to someone who has been waiting years to have their application finalized, nor to their family currently living in Canada who has been waiting years to be reunited. Regardless of how long people have been waiting, applicants who applied before 2008 will have to start their application from the beginning.
Overall, this budget implementation bill demonstrates the government’s disregard for public consultation and oversight. Along with a budget that creates numerous job losses, Employment Insurance reforms are also on the table. Out of work Canadians will now have to accept any job that this Conservative government deems “suitable work”, forcing job seekers to abandon their training and skills for any job that is available – nevermind that Employment Insurance funding comes from the workers themselves, not the government. Yet, the Conservatives have decided that they have the authority to determine where and how you should work. It’s a policy that doesn’t make economic sense and will seriously impact the lives of Canadians who are forced to work in jobs that underutilize their skills. It will also have dangerous effects on communities that rely on seasonal employment.
Meanwhile there is no new money for the many issues that residents of Scarborough come to me asking for assistance – housing, transit, youth services, health care and real job creation.
Moreover, rather than deal with each of these issues individually, the government has included them all in one massive bill in order to force them through Parliament. My New Democrats colleagues and I have been pushing the government to split this 400+ page bill, and give these serious changes proper debate.
At the end of the day, Bill C-38 does not represent the true needs of Scarborough, nor does it represent the needs of Canadians across the country. New Democrats hosted public consultations across the country, as we feel that Canadians deserve to be heard on the issues included in this budget bill, and drafted a report based on these consultations, which included 50 substantive amendments to the budget bill. Canadians need a budget that will help everyday Canadians, not just the Conservatives’ friends.
Unfortunately, after over 20 hours of continuous voting in the House of Commons, the Conservatives chose not to support a single amendment to this legislation. They chose to ignore the voice of Canadians, rather than work with the opposition parties to create legislation that is truly representative of our country.
(Rathika Sitsabaiesan is an MP for Scarborough-Rouge River)