First came the budget, now a byelection.
With the federal budget released five days before a byelection was announced for Nanaimo-Ladysmith, candidates expect it will be a talking point on the campaign trail.
Voters in the riding will elect a member of Parliament on May 6.
Michelle Corfield, Liberal Party of Canada candidate, suggested the 2019 budget is one she can campaign on.
“This is a good budget,” she said. “This enables Canada, British Columbia, Nanaimo to be able to do the work in the communities that needs to be done.”
Corfield said “the investments are solid,” pointing in particular to infrastructure spending in communities, including First Nations communities.
“There is so much that this government has done that impacts Nanaimo-Ladysmith to date and this new budget, if we mobilize it, it’s going to continue to impact positively on the lives of those living in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith riding,” she said.
Opposition parties will talk about what they don’t like in the budget, including the projected $19.8-billion deficit for 2019-20.
“The way we’re going with the current government, my two-year-old daughter won’t see a balanced budget till she’s done university and that’s not the legacy I want to leave my kids,” said John Hirst, Conservative Party candidate. “I come from a financial background and I’m pretty passionate about that subject, so it’s definitely something we’ll be talking about.”
Jennifer Clarke, People’s Party of Canada candidate, noted that the deficit exceeds the $10-billion deficits the prime minister had promised, and said the PPC would do things differently.
“We won’t have that kind of deficit going on,” she said. “A $20-billion deficit that they’ve written into the budget … Who knows where it’s going to end up?”
She favours a re-formulation of federal equalization payments, which said would mean “more money for British Columbians and right in Nanaimo-Ladysmith.”
Green Party leader Elizabeth May, campaigning in Nanaimo earlier this week, said there’s a lot she likes in the federal budget including adjustments to student loan interest rates, income supplements for seniors in poverty and a crackdown on money laundering, but said the government waited too long to act.
“We’re not going to get it through the House and Senate before the elections,” May said. “So that’s a very large concern I have, that people are going to get hopeful and excited about things. They waited so long. They could have brought these measures in in 2015 and then they’d be in place.”
Bob Chamberlin, NDP candidate, had a similar take, saying a lot of the spending is for three to five years down the road and adding that he puts a lot more stock in a post-election budget than a pre-election budget.
“To have any faith in that budget, I would look for the very near-term deliverables, because that would have some merit to it,” he said. “Anything that’s going to be planned after the election is just posturing.”
-with files from Karl Yu/The News Bulletin
Nanaimo-Ladysmith Conservative candidate John Hirst held his campaign office opening today. He said he's heard frustration with Liberal "corruption," NDP "shuffle," and "not having a voice in Ottawa right now especially with everything going on." pic.twitter.com/EKOMlvKH2R
— Nanaimo Bulletin (@NanaimoBulletin) March 30, 2019