Poverty or Environmental Protection Not On Pallister’s Agenda Says Green Leader

James Beddome, Leader, Green Party of Manitoba

James Beddome, Leader, Green Party of Manitoba

The Pallister Government’s first budget fails to make either poverty reduction or environmental protection a priority, says Green Party of Manitoba Leader James Beddome.

“During the last televised leaders’ debate Mr. Pallister stated that he wanted to address the issues of poverty effectively. Yet the poverty reduction measures announced in today’s budget, such as the increase in the personal basic tax exemption, continue to put the needs of middle and upper income families ahead of poorer families. If Mr. Pallister were sincere about poverty reduction he would be implementing a guaranteed income as the Greens have suggested for well over a decade,” says Beddome.

Beddome also says the government has failed to make environmental protection a priority.

“Infrastructure investments announced in the budget do not target needed green infrastructure that will move our economy forward while also protecting the planet, and this government has continued the trend of the previous NDP Government in decreasing the percentage of overall budget spending on environmental protection.”

Beddome noted that the Pallister government has hinted that it will put a price on greenhouse gas emissions but that no details are given on when or how that will happen.

“Implementing a price on greenhouse gas emissions is good for the economy. It provides business with incentives to innovate. It creates revenue streams that can be used to fund needed environmental initiatives that reduce emissions long-term as well as reduce taxes elsewhere,” says Beddome.

“Greens would rather see the revenue targeted towards lowering the lowest income tax bracket or reducing payroll taxes, but what Brian Pallister and the PCs seem to be missing is that the revenue from a tax on fossil fuels to account for greenhouse gas emissions could easily fund campaign promises such as a reduction in the PST or government deficits,” added Beddome.