Occasionally I use my weekly column to clear-up any misconceptions and urban myths circulating around the riding. Based upon some of the phone calls and emails I?ve received in recent weeks, the following are items I think should be included in this ?spring-cleaning?.
The federal budget and BC: Contrary to misleading accusations, BC got a very good deal in last week?s federal budget. The Province of British Columbia is the single largest winner in the country for federal infrastructure funding.
Budget 2007 brings a total of $4.8-billion in infrastructure funding to our province over the next seven years.
The budget also provides to BC an additional $3.1-billion in health transfers and $1.3-billion more for post-secondary education and childcare. Plus, the Conservative $200-million Federal Mountain Pine Beetle Program will continue to distribute resources throughout northern BC, particularly in Prince George-Peace River.
Pensioners versus Refugees: The myth that refugees receive more financial assistance from the federal government than pensioners continues to circulate around the country thanks to the wonders of the Internet.
In case you receive this email, the myth originated with a mathematical error in a letter published in the Toronto Star over two years ago. Even a prominent editorial by the newspaper has failed to stop the spread of this urban myth.
For the record, while I believe we must continue to find ways to ease the financial burden of our seniors, the maximum GIS/OAS benefit for a single pensioner is double that of a single person who is a refugee.
Stanley Park: When it was announced federal money would go towards clean-up of Vancouver?s Stanley Park following severe winter storms, grumbling resurfaced that the lower mainland was again getting more than its share of public funds. As someone born and raised in northern BC, I fully understand this reaction.
Yet while the park is located in Vancouver, it?s owned by the Government of Canada. Parks Canada leases Stanley Park, a designated national heritage site, to the City of Vancouver. The lease is up for renewal this year.
Since Stanley Park is federally-owned, who do you think would be on the hook in the event of a multi-million dollar lawsuit were anyone to be injured in the storm-ravaged park? The federal government is contributing $2-million towards a clean-up likely to exceed $9-million.
The Gun Registry: Along with our Conservative Government, I remain firmly and steadfastly committed to scrapping that boondoggle known as the federal long-gun registry.
Just because you don?t see mention of it in one of my mailouts, please know that we?re going to get rid of the long-gun registry as soon as we get the chance. We introduced legislation to scrap it, Bill C-21, on June 19, 2006.
All three opposition parties have served notice they will join forces to defeat our bill and keep the long-gun registry alive, especially after the shootings at Dawson College in Montreal. Advancing the bill in this minority parliament is therefore likely impossible. But we?re not going to give up and I fervently hope we will some day celebrate the end of this particularly ineffective and wasteful program.