The metaphorical Canadian boat is sinking, and the Liberals are looking to spend money on green retrofits before plugging the hole in the hull.
When the ship’s taking on water, bailing is important, but plugging holes is essential. The Liberals have managed do neither in their fiscal update released on November 30th.
In just nine months, the federal deficit has escalated from $19 billion to $381 billion reaching a historic deficit of almost $400 billion. For the first time in our history Canada’s debt has surpassed $1 trillion.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has Canada threatening to return Canada to the debt crisis of the 1990s and no end in sight.
Canada’s unemployment rate is 8.9%, the second worst in the G-7 (after Italy), and almost double the UK unemployment rate. That is despite Justin Trudeau spending more money than any other country in the OECD.
This week’s economic statement wasn’t about our economy – it was a political pandering wish list. A “honey I’ll do it later” list if you will.
For the sectors hardest hit, the announcement included no details on what criteria will be used to qualify for the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program. How much will the loan be? Is every restaurant, hotel and bar in the country eligible? The government says it will announce these details “soon”, but we’ve heard these promises all too many times before only to be disappointed. Business owners cannot afford to wait with bated breath.
This economic update had no details, no timelines, and provides no certainty for entrepreneurs or their workers. With no common-sense solutions provided and no clear path towards economic recovery it makes it nearly impossible for business owners to plan.
There is no question, assistance programs are necessary to help Canadians who lost their jobs and businesses struggling during a pandemic.
In consultation with our constituents, Conservatives proposed numerous ways to improve those programs. The Liberals listened on some, such as increasing the wage subsidy to 75%. On others they painfully delayed for months such as adjusting the Canada Emergency Business Account so business owners and farmers who use personal banking accounts could qualify and revamping the rent relief program.
However, in announcing the economic update rather than dealing with the crippling federal deficit, struggling Canadian businesses and unemployment, Liberals focused on spending $3.16 billion over 10 years to plant two billion trees, despite the fact their government failed to plant a single tree of the two billion promised during the last election.
The Liberals have even tossed some hush money to Alberta through increased fiscal stabilization payments, while simultaneously kneecapping our energy sector. Trudeau thinks he’s feeding the crying baby or patting a child on the head, but that’s not who Albertans are or what we want.
No, Albertans do not want hand outs. We want to once again be the economic engine of this country, develop our natural resources under the most ethical standards in the world, empower our entrepreneurship and export our world-class technology and skills around the globe.
While Liberals want Canadians to believe there’s clear sailing ahead the reality is a storm is coming and no one’s at the helm.
Trudeau and the Liberal government need to get out of the way and let someone else take the wheel.
John Barlow is the Member of Parliament for Foothills