Chatham-Kent-Leamington Conservative MP Dave Van Kesteren at his campaign HQ, October 19, 2015 (Photo by Mike James)

Van Kesteren Slams Federal Budget

The MP for Chatham-Kent-Leamington calls the 2018 federal budget “a whole lot of talk about really nothing.”

Dave Van Kesteren says the need is so great for infrastructure in Chatham-Kent and Leamington, but there is nothing for the riding in the federal budget, which was tabled on Tuesday.

“Having driven on the roads this past weekend looking at the flood damage and seeing the state of our roads and bridges, the first thought that comes in my mind and the first thing I was looking for is ‘where is the infrastructure money?'” says Van Kesteren.

He says there are also no new announcements for some of the charitable organizations that were funded in the past, like hospitals and medical programs.

“There’s an awful lot of explaining about the great things that the government is doing, but I don’t see that. I’m concerned about that trend that we’re starting to see with this government that we’re pushing all that forward,” explains Van Kesteren. “All that infrastructure money that the Conservatives had promised and was supposed to flow out is getting pushed to a further date and it’s getting pushed to the next election… this is very concerning.”

Van Kesteren says the main challenge for the finance minister is to create a strong environment and economy and to do the right thing.

“I’m looking across the border in Chatham-Kent and we’re so dependant on the United States. We are losing our opportunity,” says Van Kesteren. “I see NAFTA starting to slip away, I see the Americans gaining more ground on us with lowering their taxes–we were at an advantage a few years ago, but now we’re at a disadvantage.”

Van Kesteren is also looking at the Kinder Morgan project, which is a pipeline. He says the gross domestic product (GDP) the project contributes to is equivalent to seven Amazon headquarters.

He says these are things the government needs to focus on to build the economy and that it is heading in the wrong direction.

“I know it’s my job as opposition to hold the government to account… but I don’t see anything here that I can come away with and go to our mayors and go to the different organizations and say I have great news for you, there’s going to be money here,” he says.