Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge MP Marc Dalton will be slamming the new federal budget in the House of Commons on Wednesday, and he told The News it reflects the Liberal government’s out-of-control spending, and mismanagement of the national vaccination effort.
Former Liberal MP Dan Ruimy said it’s a strong budget that will set up the economy to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The budget sets out more than $100 billion in new spending over the next three years, including costs to maintain wage and rent subsidies and aid for laid-off workers until September.
“This budget is about finishing the fight against COVID,” said Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said in her budget-day speech. “It’s about healing the economic wounds left by the COVID recession. And it’s about creating more jobs and prosperity for Canadians in the days and decades to come.”
Canada’s net debt is now over $1 trillion for the first time ever, after a $354 billion deficit for the past pandemic year. It is expected to keep climbing with deficits of $155 billion this year, and $60 billion in 2022-23.
The federal budget promises $30 billion over five years to create child care spaces and $10 per day daycare. The budget aims to halve fees by next year. The budget sets out plan to have the federal government cover half of national childcare funding.
The feds will also spend $17 billion in coming years to promote a “green economic recovery,” including $5 billion on projects to reduce industrial greenhouse gas emissions, and tax credits for capital spent on carbon capture and storage technology.
Dalton said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has created such a huge deficit already, $354 billion, that adding tens of millions in more debt can seem comparatively insignificant. But the Conservative MP said the spending is out of control.
“He has taken us more into debt that all of the other 22 prime ministers who came before him combined,” said Dalton. “Tomorrow is going to come, and he’s putting us in a very challenging position.”
He is skeptical the government will deliver on all of its promises, and said Canadians should not bank on $10 per day daycare.
“It’s pre-election spending. Take a lot of it with a grain of salt,” said Dalton.
He said the government’s own vaccination efforts – which he calls “absolutely bungled” –have extended the pandemic and been a huge blow to the economy.
“We are in this third wave because of poor planning by the government. We are paying double as much as Americans… for the vaccinations, which we are going to get after them. We are at the back of the line.”
For all the faults with the budget, Dalton said he will be surprised if Trudeau’s government falls. He predicts the government will call for an election in September, after the vaccination effort is completed.
Ruimy said the budget has the right priorities.
“I like the budget. If we’re talking about pandemic recovery, everyone has stated that once the pandemic is over Canada is going to roar back,” he said.
The budget should position the country for an economic recovery, and affordable child care is an important piece of that, allowing more people to participate in the economy.
“It’s a good policy moving forward, and I’m glad they put funds to it,” he said.
He said the government spending was necessary given global pandemic and economic downtown.
“We did it to support Canadians and it has worked,” he said. “Yes, we’re spending money, but we’re taking care of Canadians.”
He said the vaccine rollout is happening on schedule.
“The world needs 14 billion vaccines, and everybody wants those vaccines. We all want more.”
Although there has been talk about an election if the government should fall over the budget, Ruimy does not believe anybody wants that – particularly given how high the case counts are getting in Ontario.
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