RECAP: Longfield Townhall on the Federal Budget

In his first townhall as Guelph’s Member of Parliament, Lloyd Longfield kept a pretty strict time regiment while covering a lot of ground as a full house came out tonight to Innovation Guelph to get an insider’s look at the 2016 Federal Budget. Longfield was joined by Vaughan-Woodbridge MP Franceso Sorbara and CPA Fred Richardson of BDO Canada, to talk about how the budget will affect the average, everyday Guelphite, and answer questions from the audience. Did you miss my live-tweet out or couldn’t make it to the townhall? Check out the recap below:

Federal Budget Townhall – April 5, 2016

Lloyd Longfield, Franceso Sorbara and Fred Richardson discuss the 2016 Federal Budget with Guelphites.

  1. A man, who I assume was Gordon Domm, was handing these out outside the town hall. https://t.co/z1zGXe0jcW

    A man, who I assume was Gordon Domm, was handing these out outside the town hall. pic.twitter.com/z1zGXe0jcW
  2. .@LloydLongfield is starting the meeting promptly at the start time. A first for Guelph.
  3. Longfield says there’s 4-5 days coming up for debate in the House starting April 11.
  4. Likely vote on Budget is in the next couple of weeks, Longfield says.
  5. In budget, a lot of what Liberals promised. Job stimulation “another way to get money into the middle class,” Longfield says.
  6. “Regardless of how you voted,” Longfield says he wants your #Budget2016 feedback
  7. Franceso Sorbara, who’s got a history in finance, is now speaking. HE used to work on the “bond desk” now he’s on the finance committee.
  8. Sorbara says the Finance Committee had 92 guests in one week. Timing truncated b/c of election.
  9. This budget is a shift from austerity, but “fiscally prudent” says Sorbara.
  10. Budget targets growth and investment. Targets infrastructure deficit, and innovation deficit, Sorbara.
  11. Infrastructure investment = long-term economic growth, says everyone (according to Sorbara).
  12. “Families will be transformed” with new Child Tax Benefit, says Sorbara.
  13. Presenting information about the 2016 Budget to the residents of Guelph at the town hall meeting w/ @LloydLongfield pic.twitter.com/LF4vjrdskD
  14. Fred Richardson, a partner at BDO in #Guelph, is here to talk budget, not politics.
  15. “You’ve all got kids at home, you’ve got to take advantage of this one,” says Richardson to the (most) grey crowd.
  16. Richardson says new benefits will be worth more to families than previous tax cuts.
  17. Question about if there’s a risk of 1 per centers moving more of their money off shore.
  18. Richardson: Pol aren’t going to be moving their money offshore for a small increase on a bank note. Plus more enfacement coming.
  19. Fitness, arts tax credit elimination. Richardson says its unfortunate. Not huge, but he will miss it.
  20. We’ll be taking advantage of incentives for clean energy innovation, says Richardson.
  21. Longfield turns it over to the group for Qs now. What are the priorities?
  22. First Q: Innovation strategy, what’s in the budget to stimulate it?
  23. Longfield (as chair of Nat’l caucus on Universities): $95 million on pure research, funding for “unknown unknowns”
  24. The goal is to have $360K more students in university. More training = more innovation.
  25. IRAP – Industry Research Assistance Program another innovation.
  26. Sorbara says 33% of investment during oil boom went back into oil and gas.
  27. Sorbara adds that resource economy is 20% of total economy. Non-resource econ (i.e.: manufacturing) picking up slack now.
  28. New Q: While applauds most everything in Budget, he has concerns about First Nations and Defense.
  29. Indian act creates dependent society, he says, as long I.A. is there that’s the way it will be.
  30. Defense: concerned about Canada arming people. disappointed Saudi deal not cancelled.
  31. Questioner says there’s a moral obligation, which got applause.
  32. On First Nations: Longfield says emphasis on $8B going to water treatment and education.
  33. Longfield says there’s been a lot of requests to bring @Carolyn_Bennett to #Guelph to talk First Nations issues.
  34. As for Saudi, contract “too far down” to unsung it, but looking at shifting to “monitoring stage” and moving for personal transports.
  35. Sorbara grew up in Prince Rupert. Says gov is moving to nation to nation conversation which is “overdue”
  36. Gordon Domm, the man who was handing out the electoral system op-ed, is asking a Q now.
  37. Asking about electoral reform, is Longfield concerned about backlash i.e.: electoral reform?
  38. Longfield: we’re relying on a process, a democratic process. Website will be up any day, and their will be nationwide input.
  39. New Q about National Resource Council. Says scientist there need to be allowed to do the things they’re passionate about.
  40. Longfield says we need to shore up innovation by focusing on research. Again references the $95M and that’s 1st year.
  41. New Q about veterans and benefits: Life-long pension and increase to survivors not in the budget.
  42. 1st year sees re-opening the centres, investment of new staff. Longfield says 1st part is infrastructure, but gov not finished.
  43. Asks questioner to keep gov’s feet to the fire on veterans issues.
  44. New Q about Fitness tax credit: is it being moved to the provincial?
  45. Sorbara adds Child Benefit is income tested. As for tax credits, it;s about fairness.
  46. Sorbara says its about helping the families that need the help.
  47. Majority of families will be better off, says Sorbara. Tax credits by and large didn’t help low and middle class families.
  48. Longfield adds the goal is to get 300K out of poverty in the 1st year.
  49. Longfield says that $14B of the deficit is a result of oil price crash, accord. to Parliamentary library.
  50. New Q. Man is from Alberta, and says its “Refreshing” to have town hall about the budget.
  51. His Q is about the environment and changing transportation.
  52. Increasing pace of shift to electric vehicles, looking at gridlock, and looking at rail service, says Longfield.
  53. 2nd Q about farmers and trade agreements i.e. TPP and consultation.
  54. Longfield: it’s started, talking to different sectors about TPP, Ag committee bringing in experts too. More forums and website coming.
  55. CETA 2 years into process, most likely to be passed. But TPP still not sure about.
  56. Q about the cut off between middle class and upper class. More ppl at the top could pay more?
  57. Tax brackets est. by CRA. so the hit was put on top 1 per cent.
  58. Sorbara: 9 million ppl will see a reduction in disposable income this year. The aim is to look at income inequality tho
  59. Couple new Child Tax Benefit, plus infrastructure is a win-win, says Sorbara.
  60. $444M in increases over 4 years to help CRA find tax dodges.
  61. Questioner says there has to be follow up, i.e. prosecution.
  62. Final Q: happy about the arts, curious about more foreign aid.
  63. Help in budget for low income countries to help deal with climate change. More active at UN so Canada is getting back on world stage.
  64. Longfield says that more foreign aid will have to be explored further.
  65. Coming up in the House: End of life (which won’t be a whipped vote) debate. Oh, and Lloyd says stop by his office anytime.
  66. Lloyd’s staffer Shanice is going to work for Premier Wynne next week. Longfield thanks her.

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