Banff-Airdrie MP Blake Richards says riding residents have told him they're fed up with excessive spending by the federal government and want it to end.
In advance of the Mar. 28 federal government budget address, MP Richards has sent an open letter to federal finance minister Chrystia Freeland outlining concerns expressed to him by constituents during his pre-budget consultations.
The three-page letter says the consensus of constituents is Canada’s fiscal health has been compromised because of excessive spending that is fuelling the cost-of-living crisis and deepening the nation's debt.
"Minister, residents of my constituency are sending the clear message they want Budget 2023 to start the work of reversing your government’s inflationary deficits and taxes, and that its provisions at long last end the war on work - letting workers bring home more through a commitment by the government to take less of what people work so hard to earn," states the letter.
He explains how families coping with inflationary pressures are watching helplessly as the federal government fails to employ the same spending restraints they must apply in their household budgets.
"They're struggling to even afford the basic necessities right now and when you've got a government that is spending more than all of the other governments in the history of this country combined that's what makes people sick to their stomachs, I think," said Richards in an interview on the letter.
Those responding commonly said “common-sense, fiscally-responsible” governance is overdue.
"They realize how much it's costing them from their pockets right now, they're hard-earned tax dollars," says Richards. "But I think even more so for people, they know that their children, their grandchildren, and frankly, their great-great-great grandchildren will be paying off this debt, and that's what's making people sick."
Constituents also told Richards they want greater fairness from the government in its dealings with Alberta and its residents. It was commonly said the Liberals had a record of penalizing fair and reasonable development in Alberta's natural resource sector, especially oil and gas.
"Predictable and enforceable timelines for important infrastructure projects vital to western Canada’s prosperity should be implemented to reduce obstruction and delays by outside special interests," it states.
They drew attention to labour shortages in the tourism and hospitality sectors that continue to go unheeded and believe immigration targets should be geared toward helping meet the economic and labor markets needs.
Additionally, they drew attention to the need to take measures to repair the crisis at airports that delay and strand passengers and fix the broken systems at our border crossings and in processing vias.
Richards says he isn't holding his breath that the federal government will act on any of the concerns expressed.
"I'm going to voice this as forcefully as I can and if I can somehow manage to convince the government to do any of the things that we know they need to do, then we'll consider that a huge win. If not, we'll continue to point out why the course they're going down is wrong."
Richards says close to one thousand residents provided feedback during his prebudget consultation. Some people attended in-person consultations in Cochrane, Canmore, and Airdrie and many more responded to his online survey and mail-out.