KAMLOOPS — Ethics violations and bad budgeting.
Those are two issues Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola Conservative MP Dan Albas remembers most when looking back at 2017.
"To Finance Minister Bill Morneau, a balanced budget is a dirty word. We constantly ask the government for its plans and quietly over the Christmas break a report was tabled by the finance ministry itself that says we won't see a balanced budget until 2046," he says. "Of course that really raises the question: if we're going to spend billions of dollars every year, I think it was $23 billion this year during the good times, what are we going to do during the harder times?"
And then there's the ethical issues that have dogged both Morneau over his own business dealings and even Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in relation to the 2016 Christmas vacation he took with the Aga Khan in the Caribbean.
"The Prime Minster was recently found contravening four different areas of the Conflicts of Interest Act," Albas says. "The first prime minister in our history to actually contravene a federal act while in office."
He also points to other government missteps the government was forced to backtrack on, such as making changes to small business taxes, or on a Canada Revenue Agency proposal that would have taxed employee benefits.
"Our new leader Andrew Scheer has stood up firmly against these issues in the House of Commons and has demanded as much accountability as possible and shown the government isn't being entirely honest or clear with either the finances or its own ethical conduct."
Looking ahead to 2018, Albas says Scheer and his shadow ministers plan to continue to hold the Liberals to account and notes as his party's Shadow Minister for Small Business, he plans to spend a "big chunk of his time" surveying business owners in his riding.
"Finding out what small business owners want and need. What things we can do to actually build a stronger economy for small business. To see more hiring and local investment."
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