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INVESTING IN FAMILIES WILL BOOST CANADIAN COMPETITIVENESS
At the Regina Chamber of Commerce last week, I urged the federal government to make targeted investments to ease financial pressures on middle-income families, while bolstering the overall productivity of our economy at the same time.
The aftermath of last year’s recession is far from over. A debt crisis is rippling through Europe. Financial markets continue to gyrate. And Canadians have suffered a four-percent drop in their living standards.
Most seriously -- Canadian families are now the most indebted in the western world.
When interest rates go up later this year, that crunch will get even more severe as families wrestle with affording child-care, the high cost of higher education, the homecare needs of an elderly parent or a disabled family member, and broad-based pension insecurity.
These are the human priorities that should get attention from the Harper government, instead of further tax cuts, reserved by the Conservatives for only the largest corporations (which already benefit from the second-lowest tax rates in the G-7).
As a better choice, Liberals would increase child-care spaces, reduce financial barriers to post-secondary education, fight illiteracy and bolster on-the-job training. We would reinforce Canada’s pension system and increase support to caregivers. And we would invest in innovation, especially for cleaner energy.
Such measures would both help families and improve productivity. They would secure Canada’s recovery from recession and build an economy that is smarter, more innovative, more inclusive and globally competitive.
Canadians can also count on Liberals for prudent financial management. When we turned over the government to the Conservatives in 2006, we left them a booming economy and the best fiscal record in the western world.
It’s tragic that in less than three years – BEFORE there was any recession – Stephen Harper squandered that financial strength and put Canada unnecessarily back into deficit again.