News Local

Budget causing waves

Lance Holdforth - Special to the Examiner
Barrie MP Patrick Brown (Submitted)

Barrie MP Patrick Brown (Submitted)

Barrie residents will be giving Conservative MP Patrick Brown a piece of their mind at a protest scheduled for Wednesday.

But he won't be in town for it.

Protestors will be urging Brown to vote against the upcoming federal budget, which has been causing an uproar among the Opposition for cuts and amendments outlined throughout the document.

Brown will be in Ottawa when residents arrive at his Lakeshore Drive office around 5:30 p.m.

The MP said he has an open-door policy for anyone looking to talk politics when he's around.

"My general practice is that if anyone wants to come to my office and express a point, they can protest if they like. But they're also welcome to come in and meet with me. I have an open-door policy," he said.

"On Friday, when I'm there, I'd be happy to meet with them. I may disagree with them, but I'm more than happy to let them tell me their piece," Brown added.

The protest is part of the nationwide 13 Heroes campaign to attempt to sway 13 MPs to turn down the proposed bill which may alter around 70 laws.

Brown supports the bill in the House of Commons and here in Barrie and said it will reflect well on the city and its residents.

"It includes wonderful things for our community and that's why I have spoken in favour of it in the (House of) Commons," Brown said. "It contains things like funding for Lake Simcoe cleanup, it has innovation grants for creating jobs."

Frank John Lee plans on participating in the demonstration and the 17-year-old said if the bill passes, it may result in unnecessary cutbacks to much-needed services.

"We've been passing this (demonstration) on because we're currently trying to get a number of MPs to step up," Lee said. "To my understanding there's a lot being put through the bill and some Canadians feel that we should take a better look at it."

The bill has been set in motion to go through final voting later this week.

The demonstration's web page encourages participants to bring signs raising their concerns with the bill, but also to inform others about the effects it may have on Canadians.

"We know that Patrick Brown is a Conservative and it is a Conservative bill, we still feel that although he's Conservative, he's still a Barrie resident," Lee said. "We just want to raise awareness for what the bill actually is.

"There's no unified group, there's no unified message. We just want to raise awareness."

The size of the bill has become a topic of concern, but Brown said in most cases a bill is usually 600 pages of budget strategies.

"Some are saying the budget bill is too long, but budget bills are always long," Brown said. "What we're focused on here in Ottawa is to make sure this budget reflects the best interest of Canadians, our economy is strong and we can continue to create jobs."

The idea behind the demonstration isn't to have the bill redrafted, but rather to examine the long-term effects it may have on Canadians, Lee said.

"If we do what's best for Canadians and what's best for policy in the future then I think it would be a great cause," he said.

"We're not saying the bill necessarily can't go through, we're just saying there's too much in there at once and we should be taking a bit more time before we make these types of decisions,"?Lee added.

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