03/18/2013 11:50 EDT | Updated 05/18/2013 05:12 EDT

NDP Call On Tories For More Transit, Health Care Funding

The NDP is calling on the Conservative government to fund transit, pensions and health care for veterans in the 2013 federal budget, the party's finance critics said Monday.

Finance critic Peggy Nash and deputy finance critic Guy Caron say the government has used recent federal budgets to gut environmental laws and cut Old Age Security.

"They have focused on austerity and really tried to convince Canadians why they have to do less and less, why less is possible in a country so well-endowed as Canada is," Nash said.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will deliver the budget on Thursday.

Nash said the party doesn't know what their proposals will cost, although she pointed out that they have been clear they would roll back corporate tax cuts the Conservatives brought in.

No need to balance budget by 2015

"We believe that by investing in infrastructure, by providing quality services, by helping job creators, small businesses hire more people, that we will grow the GDP, get to a better fiscal situation where we eliminate their deficit but we will also create greater prosperity for all Canadians. So I'm not going to pull out one piece and say here's the price tag because I think it's a shift in approach," Nash said.

"As we get closer to an election we usually cost things out specifically and there are checks and balances in terms of what we wouldn't spend in one area, what we would spend in another... but we have not costed out specifics in terms of this campaign."

Caron said the budget doesn't have to be balanced by 2015, which Flaherty has promised to do.

"We think that a balanced budget is important over an economic cycle. So why 2015 instead of 2016, 2014, 2017? Well, the government hasn't said anything about that except that, well, all we can see is that they're going an election in 2015," Caron said.

"So what we're trying to do is set objectives for the common good …. The government should do that instead of making cuts to obtain a certain objective that has been set arbitrarily by the government and that the government insists upon despite all the proof to the contrary that it's going to harm society as a whole."

A press release launching the NDP campaign's website says the party's own budget proposal "includes long-term infrastructure investment, fair pensions, health care for all veterans, jobs for young people, and small business investment."

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