Local residents and businesses need support following two years of pandemic, social and economic upheavals, and climate-driven wildfires and floods, North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold said.
The 2022 federal budget fails to deliver that, according to Arnold’s response statement.
“I am disappointed in this budget because it does not deliver the support that the North Okanagan- Shuswap needs today,” Arnold said.
“Yesterday’s federal budget callously ignores the rising inflation and skyrocketing costs of housing that Canadians face and will continue to face for the foreseeable future as much of the budget measures will not render support or solutions in 2022.”
The budget includes a proposed one-time $500 payment to those facing housing affordability challenges. While that may provide some relief for a month or two, Arnold calls it a band-aid solution.
Arnold said he provided the government with viable solutions to increase construction of new homes in response to the housing crisis that prevents communities and economies from growing.
“Instead of delivering incentives for construction of new homes, the federal budget proposes diverting funds from existing infrastructure funding streams to housing so local governments will have to choose between adapting to climate change and fighting homelessness.”
Arnold initiated pre-budget consultations with Indigenous, local and provincial government representatives from across the North Okanagan-Shuswap to receive input on the needs and priorities in the region.
“In my pre-budget submission to the federal government, I detailed how our communities require resources for infrastructure projects to strengthen water and wastewater treatment systems that protect the environment, climate change adaptation improvements that protect communities, and internet connectivity that connect citizens and business owners with global communities and markets,” he said.
“I called on the government to revisit the formulas used to calculate federal health transfers and recognize the demographic realities of British Columbia to provide our province with increased and equitable resources for healthcare, especially mental health and addictions recovery services.”
He also explained how aquatic invasive species continue to pose acute threats to local ecologies and economies and that the cost of prevention now is a fraction of the cost of responding if prevention is not prioritized.
“I will continue to assess budget 2022 and work with local governments, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, in an effort to connect our communities with opportunities that may exist to access federal resources required to strengthen and grow our communities and contribute to our national recovery.”