Blaine Higgs blasts federal budget, ‘shocking’ spending

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs attacked federal spending plans on Tuesday, alleging they were out of control and unlikely to get results.”This government is obsessed with spending taxpayer dollars in the name of improving the working conditions and the affordability for all Canadians,” Higgs said to reporters after the federal budget was introduced in the House of Commons.”It absolutely has not worked. It will not work and every Canadian is seen failing it.”The budget, tabled by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, proposes more than $52 billion in new spending over five years. That includes $8.5 billion for housing.With a projected deficit of about $40 billion for the 2024-2025 fiscal year, the federal government is spending more to pay interest on the debt than has been allotted to health care this year.Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland delivered the federal budget on Tuesday. (Jean-François Benoit/CBC)”Shocking, absolutely shocking, totally out of control,” Higgs said.He also complained the budget did not rescind the carbon tax.”Can you imagine though, if this budget would have included axing the tax and getting rid of the carbon tax?” he said. “And tomorrow when people went to the pumps, they had a 20 per cent a litre cheaper all across this country?” When asked about federal housing money, Higgs said announcements about funding were merely headlines and would not actually help create housing.He said the housing crisis is serious across the country, not just in New Brunswick.The cause of the crisis, he said, is “record, record immigration” and the country needs to find “sustainable” immigration levels.”How do we get to the point where we say, ‘OK, this is what we can manage in our province because everyone is feeling it,” Higgs said.Higgs also complained that Ottawa was forcing more programs into provincial jurisdiction, citing funding for daycares that does not have a long-term outlook and a health-care system “that needs more and more all the time.””So again, in dumping things into the provincial jurisdiction without thought, without any sort of real understanding and expecting the province just to take it.”He said he wanted greater co-operation among different levels of government.”You know the reality is, we’re not seeing that co-operation, we’re not seeing that ability for us to find solutions that work.”Higgs was asked if there was anything in the federal budget that he did support.”Well, it’s limited,” he said. “There are a few isolated areas that you might say, OK, well, that’s all right.”

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