Saturday, November 29, 2008

Cullen unimpressed with Conservatives handling of financial issues

Underlining some of the drama in Ottawa this weekend, NDP MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley Nathan Cullen outlined some of his concerns about the possible options that the Conservatives were planning to introduce in Ottawa this past week.

Making his comments prior to the recent financial statement of Conservative Finance Minister Jim Flaherty (which contributed to the current political crisis in Ottawa), his commentary to the Daily News seems to presage some of the debate that has been boiling in Ottawa this weekend.

With the developments of the last few days potentially leading to a constitutional crisis, it will be of interest to learn more of his thoughts on the raging debate taking place in the capital.

His pre controversy thoughts appeared in Friday`s Daily News.

Tories fail to impress MP with financial initiatives
Nathan Cullen has been banging areas drum

By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Friday, November 28, 2008

Page three

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen attacked the Conservative federal government saying the Conservative government had played politics with the national budget, which he believed would send the country in to a significant deficit.

Cullen spoke before finance minister Jim Flaherty revealed his mini-budget in the House of Commons in Ottawa, and said he did not expect this budget to do a lot for Northwest residents, even though he has been banging the riding's drum.

"We know that reforming the Employment Insurance system is a huge problem right now and there is no - and I mean no - strategy for small and medium business coming from this government. They just haven't got a clue," said Cullen.

"The current buzz around the house is all about what kind of assistance is going to be there for the economy. Is it going to be a real stimulus package kick-starting the economy? Or is it going to be more of the same from the government?" wondered Cullen before the package was unveiled.

Cullen said he has been "laser-focused" getting the riding's interests on the political table, claiming that B.C.'s Northwest had already been through a recession during the last eight years.
"We have lost a lot of jobs and had to find ways to stimulate the economy - we know what real investment looks like, and it's not simply another tax cut because for a company that is on the brink or going under, taxes are not its biggest concern," said Cullen.

Cullen blamed the Conservative government for having spent too much and collected too little after they cut the GST in 2006.

"I sense that because of the election cycle and wanting to buy voters with their own money, they have been making a lot of promises and haven't had the effect on the economy they would have hoped," said Cullen.

Flaherty said he would rein in government spending by eliminating the $1.75 per vote taxpayer subsidy given to political parties who collect more than 2 per cent of a federal election vote.
Flaherty added that he would hold wage increases to public servants, including MPs and senators, to 2.3 per cent for last year and 1.5 per cent for each of the next three years; and bring in legislation to stop them from striking until 2010-11.

He also promised to cut spending on government travel, hospitality, conferences, exchanges and political services.

Cullen said he thought Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's plan to cut tax subsidies for political parties was wrong, which makes up 52 per cent of the NDP's budget versus 37 per cent for the Conservatives. For more on this see Monday's paper.

"This is the same government that increased their cabinet budget by $4.5 million, one of the largest cabinets in history, for no good reason," said Cullen. "The reason we have this in place is to take special interests out of politics, so that people couldn't buy elections and politicians."

No comments: