It’s border line impressive how Canada’s three major parties can’t seem to find a penny of savings in the most bloated federal budget in Canadian history. In fact, during the election, politicians are tripping over themselves to promise even more spending.
Only a few months ago the Trudeau government rolled out its 2021 budget that would nearly double the pre-pandemic debt in six years. Bay Street economist David Rosenberg warned the budget could be “mortgaging our future.”
Now, the Liberals and Conservatives want to spend billions more than budget 2021. The New Democrats want to spend so much money that even hiking income taxes, business taxes, capital gains taxes and imposing a wealth and excess profits tax still wouldn’t balance the budget.
The Liberals say they will spend $78 billion more, but they haven’t said when they’ll balance the budget. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s track record isn’t giving Canadians any reassurance. Trudeau told Canadians “the budget will balance itself,” but that hasn’t happened. He also told Canadians that he would balance the budget in 2019, but missed that by a country mile. Given that context and his 2021 platform, it’s a good bet that the Liberals will never balance the budget.
Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole has his own consistency problems.
Less than a year ago, O’Toole said the Trudeau government “seems like they’re willing to bankrupt a nation in order to win the next election.”
O’Toole now wants to spend about $50 billion more than the Liberal government’s last budget.
O’Toole’s promise to balance the budget within a decade isn’t credible. On the government’s current trajectory based on budget 2021, the feds wouldn’t balance the books until 2070, according to Parliamentary Budget Officer data. But, O’Toole thinks he can spend billions more and balance the budget decades sooner. Something doesn’t add up.
The lack of savings from all parties is especially mind-boggling considering the federal government increased per-person spending to all-time highs in 2018, according to the Fraser Institute. That means that even before the pandemic, the Trudeau government had spent more money than in any single year during the Second World War.
With that kind of spending, finding savings in the federal budget should be like finding water in the ocean.
Members of Parliament helped themselves to two pay raises as millions of Canadians struggled with COVID-19. There were 312,825 federal employees who received at least one raise during the pandemic. The obvious first place to find savings would be reversing these pay raises. But we haven’t heard a peep from the major parties about that.
Political parties also gobbled up the federal wage subsidy meant to help businesses that were struggling to keep staff employed during the pandemic. Have the Conservatives, Liberals or NDP paid that money back?
Taxpayers spent $8,800 so a Canadian artist named Peaches could showcase a sex-toy exhibit in Germany. The next time Germans want to throw a sex-toy extravaganza they can pay for it themselves. Or better yet, federal politicians could save us millions of dollars by scrapping the Mission Cultural Fund that paid for the sex-toy exhibit and throws our tax dollars at famous Canadians such as Bryan Adams and Margaret Atwood.
Then there’s corporate welfare, such as the hundreds of millions for Ford Motor Company and Algoma Steel. The way federal politicians budget, they would bankrupt a lemonade stand. Yet, they believe they can help the economy by playing investment banker with our tax dollars.
At an estimated $610 million, this election is projected to be the most expensive in Canadian history. But the bigger bill for taxpayers will come from federal politicians who are turning a blind eye to all the waste in Ottawa.