The new Liberal-NDP Coalition recently tabled Budget 2022 entitled, “A Plan to Grow Our Economy and Make Life More Affordable.”
The budget is a compilation of Liberal excuses for the poor state of the economy: the state of Canada’s inflation is an “international issue”, and supply chains were impeded by lockdowns and other COVID-related matters.
Industries, such as agriculture, have suffered immensely due to the issues of getting their commodities and products to market, and are now being forced to do more with less as they continue to be an afterthought for this Liberal-NDP Government.
Strong action to advocate for Canadian oil and gas, agriculture, and other key industries, is missing in this budget.
The Liberals have reiterated their call to transition away from the oil and gas sector, which clearly displays Chrystia Freeland’s lack of regard for Canada’s ethical oil. This is at a time when Vladimir Putin is funding the destruction of Ukraine by using proceeds from Russia’s oil and gas transactions with democracies such as Canada and the United States.
The world needs to transition to Canadian oil where human rights are respected, the environment is greatly considered when developing resource projects, and where proceeds fund hospitals, schools, and the other integral programs we use every day.
Despite the Liberal platitudes saying they will invest in the Canadian Armed Forces; they fell short in this budget.
According to the most recent Public Accounts, the Liberals lapsed $1.2 billion in defence spending in 2021 alone; and a PBO report released last month shows from 2017-18 to 2020-21, there was a cumulative shortfall of almost $10 billion between what DND spent on capital and they promised after they got elected. Their new commitment works out to only an incremental increase, without recovering unfulfilled spending, and fails to outline the needed procurement of supplies to stand up for Ukraine, defend Canada’s Arctic, replace our fighter fleet, and upgrade our Navy.
The reality of Canada’s economic and fiscal situation is record-high spending for over seven years and an ever-increasing debt burden which the Liberals justified with “we are borrowing more because interest rates are low.”
After nearly doubling the national debt over the course of COVID, higher inflation that increases Government revenue, and a massive increase in royalties from the energy, the Liberals still propose a deficit of $52.8 billion. Something that is driving up inflation and hurting Canadians’ bottom lines and the dollar’s purchasing power.
In a strange turn, however, they have pivoted their talking points to signal a need to be fiscally responsible. Even though their budget does nothing of the kind, they obviously are feeling the pressure.
The budget also fails to follow through on the promises to the NDP in a tangible manner on topics such as dentalcare and pharmacare. This casts serious doubts if the Liberal-NDP Government were truly serious about their policy objectives or if it was simply a power grab.
In a bid to escape questions and accountability regarding their budget, the Liberals, in typical fashion, have chosen to present their budget the day before a two-week Parliamentary break. This appears to be an effort to intentionally avoid scrutiny and a political power play.
The Liberals continue an “Ottawa-knows-best” and a “tax-and-spend” approach to fiscal policy, where Canadians pay more, are getting less and will be less secure. Canadians deserve better.
By Damien C. Kurek, MP Battle River – Crowfoot