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Opposition parties won’t support fed budget

A federal election could be called this week after opposition parties refused to support the Conservatives’ budget Tuesday.

Local MP Randy Kamp defended the budget saying it represented the next phase of Canada’s action plan to complete the economic recovery.

“We’re keeping taxes low and controlling government spending,” said Kamp who had hoped the opposition parties “would see value in working together.”

The budget contained a number of things to strengthen families and communities, such as extending the eco-fit program, new financial support for low income seniors, new tax credits for family caregiver and children’s art, and a loan forgiveness program to attract doctors to rural areas.

The other parties should have showed Canadians more respect by reading the entire budget before saying they don’t support it, said Kamp, who believes voters don’t want to head to the polls.

“A lot was not included in the verbal budget speech,” he added.

Kamp isn’t optimistic the other parties will change their minds, and notes budget amendments are always possible, but the Conservatives believe the document has already been carefully crafted and is in Canadians’ best interests.

In an NDP news release, leader Jack Layton said the budget failed to strengthen the Canada Pension Plan and provides no relief for heating bills.

A non-confidence vote could be introduced today or Friday, forcing a spring election.

If an election is called, Kamp says he is ready with a large team of volunteers.

“I never like to run,” he said. “I don’t like campaigns, but I consider it a privilege to serve the people of Mission, Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.”

If the election gauntlet is dropped, other federal candidates in the Mission-Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows riding are Craig Speirs for the NDP and the Green Party’s Peter Tam. The Liberals say there is a candidate lined up, but won’t reveal a name until an election is called.

Speirs is a councillor in Maple Ridge who admits it will be difficult to unseat Kamp.

“He’s fairly popular even if he hasn’t done much,” said Speirs.

Tam is active in Scouts and youth arts activities. As a computer systems consultant, he says he may have an edge over the other candidates in using social media.

He pointed to a recent poll that if only people under 25 years old would vote, the Green Party would win a majority in the House of Commons.

- with Maple Ridge News files

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