Last week the federal budget was unveiled. The Trudeau government is borrowing almost $30 billion in 2016, and $113 billion over the next five years, after promising to run what it called a ‘modest deficit’ of no more than $10 billion a year during the election campaign.
Today’s deficits are tomorrow’s taxes and hard-working, middle class Canadians and their children will ultimately have to shoulder the majority of this massive burden.
With no plan to return to balance, this budget simply increases the cost of government, does nothing to create jobs and is on track to make the employment insurance system the largest employer in Canada.
This budget hurts small business, offers nothing for Barrie’s manufacturers and has no mention of the continued clean-up of Lake Simcoe.
It also fails to offer any support for our agricultural producers in Innisfil, despite the agri-food sector accounting for more than $100 billion in economic activity, employing more than two million Canadians.
During the campaign, then candidate Justin Trudeau promised the Liberals would provide revenue-neutral tax relief for the middle class by asking wealthy Canadians to pay more.
We now know this was not the case as taxpayers will have to dish out an additional $8.9 billion over the next six years.
With the cameras rolling on the campaign trail, the Liberals told Canadians over and over again about their plan to spend $10 billion per year on infrastructure.
Most people envision infrastructure as building roads and bridges. They think of investments reducing gridlock and making it easier to get our products to market.
However, what we now see printed in black and white is also not as advertised.
To the Liberals, infrastructure is divided into three main project pots: transit, green initiatives and what they refer to as social infrastructure.
For transit, the budget allocates $3.4 billion over three years but just $852 million for 2016/17. Their ‘Green Infrastructure Fund’ accounts for $5 billion over five years, but only $650 million is to be spent this year. The Liberals also claim they will spend $3.4 billion on social infrastructure over the next five years.
If you add it all up, infrastructure spending is far less than what the Liberals promised Canadians in order to get elected.
Sadly, ‘Budget 2016’ also abandons our military by deferring $3.7 billion in spending that was set to take place over the next five years. This returns Canada to the shameful ‘decade of darkness’ the military suffered under the Liberals during the 1990s.
Upwards of 4,000 Barrie-Innisfil residents are employed at CFB Borden and the Liberals are picking winners and losers with their budget.
I believe Sahir Khan, a respected non-partisan budget specialist formerly with the watchdog Parliamentary Budget Office, put it best when he described the rationale behind the Liberal’s spending spree.
Mr. Khan said, “Truth be told, the government is not giving money to people based on the economic quintile they occupy. The Liberals are giving money to people who vote for the Liberals.”