OTTAWA – Conservative Party leaders had harsh words for the federal budget tabled by Finance Minister Bill Morneau yesterday, blasting the Liberal government for its “irresponsible” acknowledgement of Canada’s First Nations and military veterans.
“There is a time and a place for recognizing the existence of Canada’s indigenous communities and the brave men and women who’ve fought for our country,” explained interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose. “And that’s on the campaign trail, in an election year.”
Ambrose was particularly incensed by the nearly $8.4 billion earmarked for improving the socioeconomic conditions of indigenous communities over the next five years.
“What do they think’s going to happen spending all that money? That people who’ve historically been marginalized by decades of systemic neglect will suddenly thrive simply by being afforded more opportunities and a better standard of living, something the rest of us have enjoyed since forever?”
The Leader of the Official Opposition added that it’s not just the amount of money committed to helping aboriginal groups, but where the money’s going.
“Clean drinking water? Waste management? Affordable housing? It’s like this government thinks our First Peoples are actual human beings.”
Ambrose also took exception to the government’s plan to allocate $5.6 billion over the next six years to veterans for increased disability awards, income replacement programs, and the reopening of nine Veterans Affairs offices closed by the Harper Conservatives.
“I defy anyone to explain to me how any of those things will improve our veterans’ ability to smile and wave at campaign rallies.”
“What’s the point of giving veterans increased access to medical benefits if we don’t send them off to fight in the wars that will make them necessary?”