Brown on budget: Thalidomide progress, unhappy about debt

MP Gord Brown, second from left, gets a tour of a business on Coons Road in Elizabethtown-Kitley Township, in this September 2017 file photo. Brown is encouraged by some parts of the federal budget but is concerned about the Canadian debt load. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

BROCKVILLE – Local MP Gord Brown is encouraged the federal government has taken notice in its 2018 budget to address compensation for Thalidomide survivors.

But Brown believes the devil will be in the details, which are yet to be released but should be in the coming months, following Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s so-called “equity and growth budget” on Tuesday.

Brown has been working on the Thalidomide file since 2016 when Gananoque resident Terry Bolton brought it to his attention.

“I am thrilled that the government is finally moving forward on this issue so that all the people who were harmed by Thalidomide will be able to live their lives with some dignity,” he said.

Thalidomide was a drug used in the 1950s and 1960s as a sleep aid and was also used to treat morning sickness before it was pulled from the Canadian market due to a direct link to birth defects.

The Conservative MP is not happy with $18.1 billion debt being added this year, bringing the total federal debt to $670 billion this year. The budget likely won’t be balanced until 2045, according to the federal finance department.

While dropping the rate from 10.5 per cent to 9 per cent, Brown is concerned the federal government isn’t doing enough, leaving Canada businesses at a competitive disadvantage against our American neighbours.

It did, however, address the amount of passive income a small business can early

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