April 20, 2015 10:38 am

Budget 2015: What Canadians want to see in the federal budget

Finance Minister Joe Oliver will deliver Canada's federal budget April 21.


We asked, you answered. Boy, did you ever. We’ve been inundated with Canadians’ suggestions, demands, desires for the federal budget, to be announced April 21.

Below are a select few pieces of advice for Finance Minister Joe Oliver. Some have been edited for clarity but all appear otherwise verbatim.

READ MORE: Full federal budget coverage


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“We desperately need more full-time jobs with realistic wages”

We need more money for health care, especially for hospitals who see thousands of very sick people – mainly seniors who have earned this assistance during their older years by having worked 35 to 40 years with no health problems. The population is aging here. Almost everyone over 60 years old will have extra health problems as they age. As well, in Peterborough we have very great need of more public health long-term care: 1,800 seniors on the waiting list in the city of Peterborough and 2,300 seniors in the county of Peterborough. We need to have cooperation between city and county, federal and provincial governments. We have the highest number of seniors in the country – about 22% of our population. … Young couples need to have two salaries to pay their family’s bills for housing, food and basic expenses and are too exhausted to take care of elderly parents themselves.

In Peterborough we desperately need more full-time jobs with realistic wages as people have given up trying to make a life for themselves and their families. Most jobs pay minimum wage if you lose a good job or just started looking for work.

We need more geared-to-income housing at less than 35 per cent of the occupant’s income. So-called affordable housing units are being accessed by moderately-in-need residents who could afford more while the people who seriously need better maintained housing at a reasonable rate are on long waiting lists and living in squalor.

– Lynn, Ontario

“I have gone totally broke and struggle day to day to provide everything my husband needs.”

Have provisions for people looking after a family member at home instead of putting their loved one in a nursing home. I have gone totally broke and struggle day to day to provide everything my husband needs. My provincial medical is not paid because his needs are more important. Yet I get billed. I am on CPP disability and my husband on pension. Ambulance services should be covered for the elderly. I can’t pay that bill either. My husband is palliative. I sacrifice everything just so his needs are met and its overwhelming. The only help I get is for him to have a shower three times a week. We really need more supports and funding in this area.

– Monika

“Why discourage savings?”

Raise basic senior’s deduction on pensionable earnings from $2,000 to $5,000. People on edge of poverty have to earn more just to survive.
Raise allowable medical deductions. Drugs are very expensive.
Allow Provincial medical plans to be deducted. Why not?
No tax on first $1,000 of interest income. Why discourage savings?

– Christopher

“Get rid of an existing tax penalty against low-income individuals”

A simple tax cut that benefits those on the lowest end of the income scale: Raise the basic deduction to a level equal to or greater than what can be earned in a minimum-wage job, working full time.

This would get rid of an existing tax penalty against low-income individuals and encourage people to seek employment over government assistance.

– Ted, B.C.

“There are a lot of seniors out here and when you short them they will short your party at the ballot box.”

An increase in CPP. It only covers a basic living now. If a person has a large bill for medications then something has to be left out.
The same is true for OAS. I checked my OAS for January and April, 2015 and had a zero increase. The calculations they used to determine the increase was so convoluted it is no wonder it came out to zero.
There are a lot of seniors out here and when you short them they will short your party at the ballot box.

– Chris, Saskatchewan

“Disclose all federal funding and spending”

Quit giving financial breaks to big business. Cut back the weeks one is on EI. Disclose all federal funding and spending. Cut the senate in half. Enable landed immigrants job opportunites to get them off of government funding. Quit paying for all expenses and benefits of refugees when injuries are self [inflicted]. Stop selling our resources to other countries for little to nothing. Raise environmental spill fines so as not only pay for the mess but to pay for the future and sustainability of the land that has been damaged. Grandfather the Indian Act only 5 generations of payment. Endorse a highways fee to companies that are using big trucks moving heavy equipment and destroying roads. Enforce laws to fine those immediately with illicit drugs in or on body and stop wasting tax dollars taking minor traffic infractions to courts saving millions of dollars.

– Sherry

“A pharmacare program”

Return of some of the health care transfer money. And a pharmacare program. Then a national Senior housing and care program

– Murray

“Expand income-splitting”

Make every effort as first priority to raise basic standard exemption as much as possible and also expand income splitting. Also do significant spending cuts and increase debt reduction efforts. Also a single rate of income tax would also help the economy.

– Paul

“I have been forced to go back to work to augment my pension so I can have some kind of reasonable life.”

As a senior (71 years old) with a profound hearing loss I have been forced to go back to work to augment my pension so I can have some kind of reasonable life. Even then, the cost of living has far surpassed any COLA increases that come in the pension plan. … I would like to see a reasonable increase in pensions as the pension funds that were in good interest investments were literally stolen by the Liberals to finance some pretty poor interest, and in some cases losing, projects. Charity begins at home and seniors could sure use a boost. I’ve been a Conservative supporter for many years, but seeing what’s happened to my quality of living is making me do some very serious reconsidering this time around. I thought maybe it was just me, but I’m hearing the same from most other seniors that I talk to. Remember, there is a large contingent of seniors out there and we are the ones that tend to get out and vote the most.

– Fred

“Start promoting a Canadian manufacturing development program”

We need to create jobs by rebuilding our manufacturing capabilities by encouraging development of local companies that can process our abundant natural resources, i.e. oil and gas refining, into higher value-added products, or high-end furniture manufacturing from our forests, for both domestic and export markets. Another aspect of this is to also promote local small- to medium-size company thinking that caters to local and/or regional markets. … To finance this approach, I would like to see the government increase corporate taxes on large companies that have benefited for years now from “free trade” as well as kick in a substantial amount of government money to start promoting a Canadian manufacturing development program with an accompanying research & development program to support it for future success.

Allow private surgical clinics across Canada to provide procedures that require overnight stays. Limit them to 10 or 12 bed status and increase their corporate tax rate to make up some of the money lost to the “Health Care System.” You could also increase the income tax rate of users of private services by 2 or 3 per cent for five to seven years to recoup some costs. It is absolutely unconscionable for seniors to wait and suffer for 18 months to two years for surgical procedures such as knee or hip replacements, which is now the case in several provinces. Such long, incapacitating waits create all kinds of other health issues that strain the system even more.

I agree with an end to the income splitting and other programs that cater to mainly to already lucky rich, or are meant mainly for vote-getting in the upcoming election.

– Robert

“More money and job creation in the Atlantic Provinces of Canada!”

An end to income splitting, or changes to it, so that every single taxpayer in this Country benefits from it. We are all taxed way too much in Canada and watch our government squander our hard-earned money on themselves, and they use it to fund their own personal programs, which don’t benefit Canadians as a whole.

More money and job creation in the Atlantic Provinces of Canada! The stories in the news are painting an awful picture for the economic stability of Canada’s Maritime Provinces. The death rate is higher than the birth rate and young skilled workers are leaving in droves to find work because all the trades, manufacturing, education jobs are gone from a once robust industrial sector of Canada. Well, all these jobs need to return, and companies and major manufacturing businesses need to re-establish themselves in Atlantic Canada now!

Build Canada program for infrastructure and municipal programs needs a major funding boost! This would create jobs countrywide and allow municipalities across this country the ability to fix their local roads, sewer systems, water treatment systems and infrastructure that is crumbling from coast to coast!

Increase corporate taxes! Companies in Canada such as big oil and gas are getting away with lower taxes than the people of this country pay.

Restore funding for Parks Canada, restore funding for Transportation safety and inspection services, restore the number of lakes and watersheds in Canada to protected status that were under that status before PM Harper took seat!

And lastly, force the provinces of this country with the highest provincial income taxes to lower their rates so that people can keep more of their hard-earned money, which they would spend locally, instead of giving it to their provincial governments, who squander it, and spend it on programs that don’t benefit the local taxpayers!

– Matt

“Same reasoning I use on my own budget.”

Balanced budget.
Pay down debts.
Same reasoning I use on my own budget.
The government can’t give things to people just because they want them. We should all be in control of our own destiny. What I want the government to do is supply the environment so that I can manage my own affairs.

– C.L.

“A Disability Benefit that is not below poverty level.”

CPP benefits that take into account of seniors with dependents and raises in CPP the same percentage as our elected officials
A Disability Benefit that is not below poverty level.

– Deb

“Widening Highway 17”

If the Harper government is going to increase spending on military training, especially in Petawawa, then some of that contribution should go into widening Highway 17 to a four-lane divided highway from Arnprior to Petawawa. … Four lanes is always required when an average of 10,000 vehicles per day on any highway.

– Andrew, Ontario

More microwave ovens and more secure food storage facilities in airplanes so Conservative Senator Nancy Ruth does not have to eat her Camembert cheese ice cold or served broken crackers.

– Gene

READ MORE: Smart Money series

READ MORE: Canada’s Instability Trap

Tell us (and the Finance Minister): What do you want to see in Canada’s federal budget? Why?

Note: We may use what you send us in this or future stories. We may get in touch with you but won’t publish or share your contact info.

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