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Statement: Urban Transit Tax Credits

Honourable senators, the government announced that it will spend $900 million on capital costs for urban transit and announced yesterday a tax break for urban transit users to the tune of another $2 billion over five years funded by all Canadians, both urban and rural. This is nearly $3 billion over the next few years.

What is the government offering to Canadians who do not have access to urban transit? This is like double-barrelled taxation for Canadians who live in urban areas. What is the government offering to Canadians living in Grand Falls, Edmundston and Woodstock, New Brunswick, who have to pay for a car, maintenance and insurance? What about the government's mantra of "giving people choices"? Rural Canadians have no choice but to have a car, with all of its expenses, if they want to go to work.

There is no money for regional airports that the Conservatives promised in the last campaign. There has actually been a decrease in funding for VIA Rail to maintain current lines, never mind adding to them so other communities can have access to mass transportation.

The Conservative government is willingly contributing to the great social and economic divide between rural and urban Canada. It is willingly giving preferential treatment to urban Canadians to the detriment of rural Canadians. The federal government must give some type of transportation cost tax credit to rural Canadians that will be comparable to both the urban transit capital funding and the tax credit for urban transit users. That is a must!