Cowichan-Malahat-Langford NDP MP Alistair MacGregor in the House of Commons. Supplied by Alistair MacGregor Facebook page.
The Trudeau Government has unveiled the Federal Budget and the big winners coming out of it are seniors, post-secondary students, and municipalities.
The budget lays out that $1.8 billion dollars are going into the Guaranteed Income Supplement over the next six years, boosting GIS benefits to about 900,000 low-income seniors.
Post-secondary students got some good news, as the government is spending one point seven billion dollars over the next six years to allow students to pay less interest on their loans.
Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP Alistair MacGregor said interest should be entirely removed and he hoped the feds would have followed BC’s lead.
“We’ve been making the case that we should be removing interest altogether on student loans,” said MacGregor. “That is something our BC government has been going through with and I think that would really help out with what people are going through.”
Finance Minister Bill Morneau is promising to cut the floating interest rate on student loans to prime from the current rate of prime plus 2.5 percent.
Municipalities are receiving $2.2 billion dollars to fund short-term infrastructure priorities including local roads, regional airports, disaster mitigation, sports facilities, wastewater, and community energy systems.
MacGregor says it’s disappointing that front-line healthcare workers didn’t receive any funding to help in dealing with the opioid crisis.
“We’re still suffering through an opioid crisis but, unfortunately, the government hasn’t declared it a national emergency like it is,” said MacGregor. “We have lost thousands of lives to this and there’s no additional funding for front-line health workers who are directly involved in this.”
The BC Coroners Service has released statistics on illicit drug overdoses and while the 90 drug overdose deaths in January was a more than 30 percent decrease from January 2018, there were still nearly three overdose deaths a day.