|You can’t say they didn’t warn us … warn us that there would be incredible levels of spending with no regard to a repayment plan. And that’s what we got.
Particularly disappointing is the continued reliance on subsidies and government-paid programs rather than investment in helping Canadians – both businesses and families – get back on their feet and resume their own self-reliance. Liberals have always believed that government programs are a better way to support Canadians than enabling Canadians to use their own talents, ingenuity and hard work to get ahead. Yes, during the pandemic, direct support was necessary. But surely it is time to start planning for recovery.
Robert Asselin, the former Budget and Policy Director for then-Finance Minister Bill Morneau, and former Senior Advisor to PM Trudeau, said, “It is hard to find a coherent growth plan”.
Huge Numbers: This year, the government will add $155 Billion to the debt; and hit $1.2 Trillion in accumulated debt. This year, the government will spend $22.1 Billion just servicing the debt. By 2026, the government will be spending $39 Billion/year just on interest payments. By comparison, we’ll be spending $25.6 Billion/year on EI supports, or $27.9 Billion on the Canada Child Benefit. Every man, woman and child in Canada now owes $33,000 as their share of the debt, a fact acknowledged in this budget document. These are very concerning numbers, and we don’t see a sensible plan for how these huge expenditures will bring Canadians back to economic prosperity.
My Interview on QR770
I was interviewed by Shaye Ganam on 770 QR and 630 CHED about Monday’s budget. There are parts of the budget I like, including reference to a tax credit for Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage which I have been fighting for now for several months. I will be working to ensure the details of that commitment are actually what we need. On the down side, we have to ask whether the government spending plans are in excess of what is actually required to restart the economy; long-term debt and its accompanying interest rates will constrain future policy options if we don’t get a grip on it. Comments on other aspects of the budget are in the interview.
Speaking in the House on the Budget
Here are my remarks in response to the budget:
“By ‘investments’, of course, she [Minister Freeland] means government spending. Those two are clearly at odds, but it is obvious that neither the Prime Minister nor the finance minister understand the notion of financial risk. Clearly, the Liberal government will justify spending taxpayer funds in good times, and spending taxpayer funds in hard times. It begs the question, what times are not good for overspending taxpayer funds?
“The forecast budget deficit for this fiscal year coming, according to yesterday’s budget, is $154.7 billion. That is almost $50 billion higher than forecast in the fall economic statement despite last year’s revenues out performing by $35 billion since the fall. Planned spending represents an increase of $136 billion over the next five years in addition to the $548 billion in spending forecasts in the fall economic statement. How is this justified?
“These deficits accumulate to an ongoing debt-to-GDP ratio at 50% going forward, so the plan, the fiscal anchor, is to maintain Canada’s debt at half the size of our economy for the foreseeable future. Is that an anchor? The better our economy performs the deeper in debt we get to go?”