Local MP Carol Hughes Reacts to Federal Budget

Local MP Carol Hughes is giving the new federal budget a mixed review.

Overall, the Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing New Democrat is giving the budget a failing grade, saying the Liberal government has "made some different choices than what would actually benefit most Canadians".

While Hughes does commend the increase in the Guaranteed Income Supplement for single seniors, she says the rise is small and still isn't likely to provide a livable income - and she claims it'll only help about a quarter of the 200,000 people that would've been lifted out of poverty under an NDP proposal.

Hughes similarly says plans to let seniors keep more of the GIS if they're working - rather than clawing back that extra income - could help, but questions why more isn't being done so that seniors simply won't need to work after retirement.

She agrees the Liberals have taken a step forward on pharmacare, but says it's "still about protecting the big pharmaceutical companies" and does not go as far as implementing a national pharmacare plan as the NDP had hoped.

The local New Democrat also points to the budget's doubling of Gas Tax funds for infrastructure, noting it's a deceptive claim, as that's really money the Liberals were unable to get out the door last year.

As for $1.7-billion announced to have broadband internet access across Canada, Hughes raises concerns that the funding is spread over more than a decade.

She also notes that timeline is so long that the standard being set could be far outdated by the time it's available country-wide.

Though she acknowledges the Liberals could pass the budget with their majority, Hughes says there's always a chance for improvement during debate in the House of Commons - and that things could change after the fall election, even if the Liberals are re-elected.