SURREY - The Surrey Board of Trade is giving the federal budget a thumb's up. B.C. Finance Minister Kevin Falcon likes it, too.
Surrey North NDP MP Jasbir Sandhu doesn't.
Anita Huberman, CEO of the board of trade, said Thursday's budget is "both careful and strategic.
"It is careful," she said, "in that it recognizes that the economy, although improving, it still somewhat fragile and is signaling its intention to move ahead carefully."
Huberman said that increases in duty-free shopping limits for cross border shoppers (now $200 after 24 hours; $800 after 48 hours) "was not felt to be of particular concern" to Surrey businesses close to the U.S. border "as it is really a reflection of what the government is currently allowing anyway."
Asked for his take on the budget, Falcon replied, "I like it" because it shores up Canada's reputation as a safe harbour for investment and provides a "credible path" to get back to balanced budgets.
But Sandhu says the Tory budget fails B.C. families, with its cuts to the Old Age Security program and healthcare funding.
"Stephen Harper promised to protect healthcare funding - and didn't," Sandhu said. "And he didn't tell Canadians about his plan to cut Old Age Security until after the last election. Mr. Harper prefers short-changing provinces and balancing the budget on their backs. It's unacceptable.
Sandhu added the Tories "have billions to build prisons, buy fighter jets, and offer gifts to their friends in large corporations, but nothing to address the affordable housing crisis in B.C., the need for investment in public transit, or the need for economic diversification."
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