Budget 2016

Dear friends,

Earlier today, the Liberals released their first budget since forming government. It’s a major milestone in federal politics. We’re writing to share some highlights, immediate reactions, and the implications for some of the Leadnow community’s key campaigns.

After the election, we asked our community how we should approach this new government. Over 10,000 people responded, telling us they expect the Liberals to do the right thing in many cases, and that “we'll need to pressure them” on other issues.[1]

Today’s budget is no exception.[2] There is much to like, and - on some important areas - much more work to do. Here are three highlights from the budget on key Leadnow campaigns:

Targeting tax dodgers

Today’s budget includes almost half a billion dollars to crack down on tax evasion, which the government estimates will generate $2.5 billion in lost revenue. While there’s more work to do to close tax loopholes, this is a great start. Huge thanks to the nearly 9,000 of us who wrote to Finance Minister Bill Morneau, calling on him to stop tax dodgers in the budget.[3] Please click here to thank Bill Morneau for targeting tax evasion.

Re-opening the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station

Last April, after a major fuel spill in Vancouver’s harbour exposed the costs of Harper’s cuts to marine safety, more than 16,000 of us signed a petition calling the government to re-open the Kitsilano Coast Guard base.[4] During the election, the Liberals promised to re-open the base, and today, they made good on that promise by pledging $23.6 million over 5 years to re-open the base. Please share this graphic to celebrate this victory.

Investing in a clean energy economy

Over the past month, nearly 15,000 of us have called on the government to invest in a Green New Deal that could create 1 Million Climate jobs.[5] Thanks to you, we’re one big step closer. Today, the government committed to spending:

  • $1 billion on clean technologies in the resource, energy and agriculture sectors
  • $3.4 billion to address climate change, protect sensitive ecosystems, and build trust in the environmental assessment process
  • $3.4 billion to improve and expand public transit in communities across Canada
  • $5 billion in green infrastructure projects that help support Canada’s transition to a “clean growth economy”

Thank you to everyone who took action. These investments are a major step for Canada and the world. Please click here to thank Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna for including this in the budget.

The progress in this budget is proof that elections matter. And, as we thank key decision-makers for these important steps, let’s remember that there’s still hard work ahead to keep building momentum for a strong democracy, fair economy and clean environment for all generations.

Last week, nearly 5,000 of you called on Finance Minister Bill Morneau to live up to the government’s promise to end massive oil, gas, and coal subsidies in the budget.[6] While the government has taken many positive steps today, they’ve undermined these actions by continuing to subsidize new fossil fuel infrastructure projects. They also just approved the Woodfibre LNG project in BC, a major climate polluter. We need to keep working together to stop dangerous LNG terminals, pipelines, and big oil subsidies.

Working to fix our broken electoral system and stopping the Trans Pacific Partnership deal are major priorities for the Leadnow community. The budget includes $10.7 million over four years to consult Canadians on voting reform, and reiterates the government’s commitment to consult people before making their final decision on the TPP.

We know that consulting Canadians is only a first step, and consultations on electoral reform are already behind schedule. We’ll be watching closely for meaningful action. And we’ll be reaching out to you soon with next steps in the campaign for a strong, fair and proportional voting reform before the next election.

We’d love to know what you think about the budget. Click here to join the conversation on facebook, or tweet or email us your thoughts.

Since we launched in 2011, the Leadnow community has come together time and again to take action for a strong democracy, fair economy and clean environment. That’s why we opposed the worst of former-Prime Minister Harper’s agenda and that’s why we organized to defeat him in the 2015 election. Now, we’re starting to see real progress on issues that matter and we need to keep working together to build the future we want.

Thanks for all that you do,

Amara, Francis, Jolan, Matthew, and Rodrigo, on behalf of the Leadnow team

[1] Results from the 2015 Community Survey:

[2] Growing the Middle Class: Budget 2016: http://www.budget.gc.ca/2016/docs/plan/budget2016-en.pdf - p.216 (tax evasion), p.189 (Kitsilano), p. 149 (climate spending), p. 209 (electoral reform consultations), p. 221 (TPP)

[3] Tell our government to close tax loopholes and stop tax dodging in the upcoming budget http://www.leadnow.ca/stop-tax-dodgers/

[4] No more spills. Protect Vancouver from oil spills http://you.leadnow.ca/petitions/never-again-protect-vancouver-from-oil-spills

[5] A national climate strategy http://www.leadnow.ca/clean-future/

[6] End fossil fuel handouts in the 2016 budget http://you.leadnow.ca/petitions/end-fossil-fuel-handouts-in-the-2016-budget