Opposition: Not enough, leaders charge

Globe and Mail Update
Monday, December 10 – Online Edition, Posted at 6:23 PM EST

Opposition politicians were quick to slam the Liberal budget on Monday, saying the government had done too little to boost Canada's national security — or its economic security.

Canadian Alliance Leader Stockwell Day said the budget failed to give Canada's defence forces the funding they need.

"The Auditor-General, in terms of just getting the maintenance budget going for the Armed Forces, talked about $1.3-billion per year and [the Liberals] are talking about $300-million per year. It falls so far short," Mr. Day said.

Alliance finance critic Jason Kenney said the Liberals had also failed to continue to reduce the national debt. And he criticized the government for spending on the CBC and other areas.

"They found more money for culture than for the Agriculture Department," Mr. Kenney told the House in brief remarks after Mr. Martin's speech.

"This budget fails to reflect the priorities of Canadians. It fails to get priorities straight. It is a huge wasteful budget. If this were a movie, it would be known as 2001: A Waste Odyssey," Mr. Kenney said.

Progressive Conservative Leader Joe Clark said the Liberals should have reduced Employment Insurance premiums, and that they should have pledged not to use the EI program's massive surplus for other government spending.

"This is a budget that will not stand the test of time," Mr. Clark told CTV News. He also said that "there should have been more attention paid health care."

NDP Leader Alex McDonough called the budget "bogus," saying a much bigger economic stimulus package is needed to fight off a recession. The NDP had called for a $10-billion job creation and infrastructure package.

While she said there was a need for increased security measures, she said the Liberals have fallen short in many other areas.

"No security here for agricultural families in crisis, no security for the homeless, no security for the 18 per cent of kids in this country living in poverty, no security for the unemployed," Ms. McDonough told CTV News.

With a report from Canadian Press

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