The 2009 federal budget is good news for residents in Ottawa, according to Ottawa West-Nepean Conservative MP John Baird.

The minister of Transportation, Infrastructure and Communities said people in Ottawa will see benefits from substantial funds set aside for investing in municipal infrastructure, rehabilitating social housing and for the new construction trades building at Algonquin College.

With the closing of Chaudiere Bridge in mind, the federal government has set aside $42 million to repair federal bridges in Ottawa.

Baird said he was confident that the steps taken would gain sufficient support to pass in the House of Commons.

At around 300 pages, Ottawa-Vanier Liberal Mauril Belanger said his party would be taking their time to properly analyze the budget.

“We’re going to give it a fair objective look. We have questions about whether it does enough to protect the vulnerable, protect jobs and to create jobs, because this government has not demonstrated a great willingness to act,” he said.

However, Ottawa-Centre NDP MP Paul Dewar said the budget failed to protect Canada’s most vulnerable or adequately save and create jobs.

“This budget offers no real change from the Conservative policies. The problem is that the government only announces its intention to invest in our communities, but never follows through,” said Dewar.

Additional infrastructure and housing funding was welcomed by Mayor Larry O’Brien, who wrote on his website that it would provide an economic stimulus and have a lasting effect on addressing the infrastructure-funding gap.

“The City of Ottawa is ready to move forward on important investments to expand and repair our social housing and we welcome the added financial assistance contained in today’s budget,” he wrote.



First big announcement for post-secondary in years: MBA director


The federal budget contained lots of good news for students, said Ian
Lee, MBA director for the Sprott School of Business at Carleton

There was an announcement of $2 billion for the renewal and
refurbishment of buildings at universities and colleges across Canada,
said Lee.

“That’s good because universities and colleges are educating the next
generation, who are replacing the boomers who are retiring soon,” said

A student at the University of Ottawa, Adrianne Walton followed the
federal budget yesterday to see — for better or for worse — how student
life would be impacted.

Walton, 31, recently returned to school full time for her bachelor of
science and nursing degree after working as a registered practical
nurse for a year.

“It would be nice to have halls that are updated,” she said. “The halls are so old fashioned and the spaces are cramped. ”

Walton, who also followed the budget to find out what the federal
government has allotted for long-term care, said she wanted to see more
money filtered into universities and colleges.

The government should also find a way to keep tuition fees down, said Walton.

“Tuition fees have been steadily going up. I think a lot of people will have a heavy debt load when they get out.”

This is the first big announcement for post-secondary made by the feds
in many years, said Lee. And because Ottawa has several post-secondary
institutions, this is particularly good news for the city, he said.

“The whole budget was focused on getting the economy moving again,”
said Lee. “The recession falls more heavily on young people, so any
attempts to resuscitate and turn around the economy will benefit young
people because they have higher unemployment rates.”

TRACEY TONG/Metro Ottawa