Fall economic update too "middle" minded

Fall economic update prioritizes economic growth but leaves climate commitments, poverty, and refugees in the margins

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ottawa, ON: November 22, 2018 – Write-offs for business in the name of boosting Canada’s middle-class formed the focus of the Liberal government’s latest fall economic statement.

Missing, however, was any mention of Canada’s new poverty reduction strategy, support for refugees, or investments to keep global temperature increases below 1.5 C.

At a time when international climate science is emphasizing the urgent need for action on climate change, the update made only brief mention of carbon pricing. Details were also lacking to support claims of "actions taken, progress made" on the commitment to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.

The introduction of immediate expensing for clean energy investments is good, however, it pales in comparison to the new investments in fossil fuel development (namely the $40 billion investment to support a liquefied natural gas (LNG) investment in Kitimat, British Columbia). Despite an overall emphasis on jobs, however, the failure to enhance support for a just transition is a major oversight.

For those experiencing poverty, the previously implemented Canada Child Benefit and Guaranteed Income Supplement were among the programs cited as already successful, but no further commitments to social program investments were included that are needed to strengthen the new federal poverty reduction strategy.

The update did outline the targets the government has set for the National Housing Strategy, but they have yet to provide progress updates on the implementation and rollout of the strategy so far. The inclusion of increased funding for Nutrition North was commendable, though the program requires a Northern and Indigenous-led restructuring. 

Apart from continued support for provinces and territories to manage irregular migration, no new money was allocated to invest in the immigration file heading into 2019.

Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ) believes that greater commitment to the environment and to populations in need can help to achieve Canada's objective of remaining competitive internationally. 

Helping middle-class Canadians should not eclipse supporting those most vulnerable in Canada.

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For more information, contact Deborah Mebude at deb@cpj.ca or 613-232-0275 x225.

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