KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Politicians often take license with the truth, that’s just the way the world works. But sometimes they go too far. Recent statements by Brendan Maguire, Liberal MLA for Halifax Atlantic, are of that latter variety.
After the release of the provincial budget the Nova Scotia Advocate posted an op-ed lamenting the lack of new money for people on income assistance.
Then comments on that article started appearing on Facebook suggesting the article was incorrect “because Brendan Maguire said so.” Maguire’s constituency contains a high number of welfare recipients.
Indeed, on Maguire’s Facebook page there is an 8-minute video where Maguire goes through the 2017-18 budget highlights.
“This is a big thing for our community and all of Nova Scotia,” says Maguire, waving the budget document.
“We are changing the way Community Services provides income assistance to people in need. We are now going to be providing a standard household rate which will substantially increase benefits for our clients and introduce a new work incentive so those who can work can keep more money that they earn,” Maguire goes on to say.
Well, that statement is incorrect. There is nothing in the budget that says that. People will not get an increase, and a standard household rate will not be implemented in the coming fiscal year. In fact, as Richard Starr reports, funding for income assistance is down $471,000 from last year’s estimate – or 2.2% when cost of living is taken into account..
So where does all this come from?
There is a mention in the budget address that hints at such a change. It’s just that it refers to 2018-19.
“In 2019–2020, Nova Scotia will introduce a transformed Income Assistance structure. This year, we will start the work needed to introduce a Standard Household Rate that will substantially increase benefits for our clients in all household types and introduce a new work incentive so those who can work can keep more of the money they earn,” the budget address states.
Opposition politicians have rightly argued that a budget that was never perused, let alone voted on, contains not much more than a series of election promises. I will leave it up to you what that makes a budget speech announcement that will only take effect a year from now.
Better not spend that increase yet.
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