Liberals underestimated six year deficit by over $4B: PBO
According to the latest report by the Parliamentary Budget Officer(PBO), the Liberals missed the mark on their six-year deficit projections by over $4 billion.
An independent study of the Liberal’s projected budget was released today by Yves Giroux.
Without mentioning 71,000 jobs the Canadian economy shed in November, Finance Minister Bill Morneau stood in the House of Commons’ West Block foyer on Monday to announce a measly tax cut that would provide earners of $50,000 “with tax savings of close to $300 in 2023.”
Twenty million Canadians would benefit said Morneau, of the Liberals proposed increases to allowable personal income before taxes from $12,300 to $15,000.
In the wake of disastrous fall job figures reported last week by Statistics Canada, the minister touted “the lowest levels of unemployment we’ve seen in a very long time, but as we know, there continues to be economic anxiety and economic challenges.”
Asked about Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s demand for A Fair Deal for Alberta within Canada, banner advertisements purchased for the front page of today’s Ottawa Sun and Citizen editions, Morneau said he hadn’t read them yet, “but I will have a meeting with the Alberta Minister of Finance this afternoon and we will listen.”
“It’s important to listen, to consider their challenges. Their challenges are true. So we will listen and work together to improve the situation across the country, including Alberta,” said Morneau.
Across the street from Parliament, Kenney was about to address the Canadian Club in specific terms about the anxiety and challenges his province faces, having shed 175,000 jobs since 2015–18,000 in November alone – on the cusp of meetings with Morneau.
“There cannot be a strong Canada without a strong Alberta… our ability to play that role in the future is at risk. That puts Canada’s prosperity at risk,” Kenney warned during his speech, reiterating the province’s “net contribution(s) of $630 billion to the rest of Canada since 1961”, by way of federal income tax transfers.
By Kenney’s estimation, this wealth transfer from Alberta, which the federal government redistributes to other provinces in the federation equalled $55,000 for each man, woman and child in Alberta.
The Alberta premier went on to outline “the fair deal” his province seeks includes “a firm and fast deadline for TMX… and to make it a priority to bring First Nations into the project as an equity partner as soon as possible.”
As three separate indigenous groups are lined up to buy a stake in the existing 1,150 km pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C. and a proposed $7.5 billion expansion, Morneau and the government have been silent on such a deal, despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promise last June for unlimited Indigenous ownership.
On this front, the Alberta premier lines up squarely behind federal Conservatives; either want more tidewater pipelines and new environmental legislation (bills C-69 and C-48) repealed, what Kenney and his Ottawa cohorts label as pipeline killers.
Scrapping this legislation–C-69 that revamped resource project assessments and 48, the northwest coast oil tanker ban–said Kenney, would allow the province a freedom “to develop our resources at a fair market price.”
Kenney has been beating the TMX drum for some time and shortly before Trudeau’s summertime green light for the project, the premier issued his demands in another ad-buy, this one splashed on the front pages of the Globe and Mail.
“Let us take seriously these challenges in a province that has done so much (for Canada). Let’s not make the mistake of diminishing or deriding (them),” Kenney told the Canadian Club on Monday morning.
Less than an hour earlier at Morneau’s tax cut scrum, the overall benefit was cut down to size in a brief back-and-forth with Mona Fortier, the Middle Class Prosperity minister and associate minister of Finance.
Reporter: “Have you looked at how much it’s going to save a person on their pay cheque? It’s at $300 a year. What’s that per pay cheque?”
Fortier: “Well, you know with this pay cheque will help to–with the $300 or $600 for families it will help ends meet and help families have access to more activities after school.”
Reporter: “It’s $11.50. Everybody knows…”
Fortier: “Well it’s still money that is combined with all of the measures that we’ve put in since 2015. It will help families cover some costs that they want to send their kids to camp or to put money aside for retirement.”
The Trudeau government will be reducing government revenue by $3-6 billion in order to cut taxes by roughly $25 per month for working Canadians.
According to a motion tabled by Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Ottawa will increase the personal income tax exemption by $2,000, to $15,000.
The proposed amendment to the Income Tax Act would ensure that Canadians who make under $147,000 a year would pay no taxes on the first $15,000, with benefits being spread out over four years.
Interestingly, given the wording of the motion, a dual-income family earning nearly $300,000 would receive the full tax cut.
While some wealthy Canadians would receive the cut, nearly 1.1 million Canadians would pay no tax at all as a result of the increase.
Based on the government’s own estimates, implementing the cut will cost government revenues of $3 billion in the first year, rising to $6 by 2023.
While any tax cuts will be sure to be received well by Canada’s rather overtaxed population, especially when you look at the average tax rates across our southern neighbour, the timing of the cut may worry deficit hawks.
As of now, Canada is on track to hit a $27.4 billion dollar annual deficit, multiple times higher than what the Trudeau government promised, and on track to balance no sooner than two decades from now.
With 22 years needed to balance, according to the nation’s Finance Department, Canada could be in a problematic situation should a global recession occur.
After Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau pledged again to build the embattled Trans Mountain expansion to the West Coast, British Columbia Premier John Horgan positioned his government to target the 1150 km pipeline twinning on a second front.
Having lost in B.C.’s court of appeal, which in May rejected Horgan’s attempt to impose additional oversight on the proposed bitumen corridor, last Thursday his Indigenous affairs minister tabled legislation Trudeau failed to get through the Canadian Senate.
“The road is long, but we have made reconciliation a cross-government priority and are taking important steps forward, in partnership with Indigenous peoples,” said Horgan in a statement issued after what was a ceremony at B.C.’s Legislative Assembly in Victoria.
Referencing the landmark 2014 Tsilhqot’in Supreme Court decision granting Aboriginal land title for six First Nations in the province’s interior, Horgan steered clear of TMX, for which cabinet’s consultation credibility is being tested by the Federal Court of Appeal to the standard Tsilhqot’in’s ruling.
Instead the premier spoke in generalities, promising to do “the hard work… together with Indigenous peoples, to build a true government-to-government relationship based on reconciliation, respect and the shared goal of a better future for everyone in B.C.”
Former NDP MP Romeo Saganash, a Cree from northern Quebec who did not seek reelection, was in attendance. His federal Bill C-262 with the same aim died in the Senate last June. Independent MP-elect Jody Wilson-Raybould was also there.
Veteran regulatory lawyer and longtime insider Bill Gallagher, author of two books about where resource interests intersect with aboriginal rights, said the adoption of UNDRIP should light a fire under Trudeau and Morneau to make a deal with Indigenous groups who want to buy the pipeline.
“In light of what’s happening in B.C., Morneau had better pull out all stops when it comes to Native equity and Native profile, if he wants that project to have a chance, in that current environment,” Gallagher told The Post Millennial.
Gallagher said that from an “academic point of view the constitutional rulings Natives have (in Canadian court) outclass the UN Declaration which is non-binding, in terms of substance and import.”
“I think the native movement is making a big mistake by chasing this Golden Fleece, as opposed to commercializing their own legal wins,” he said. “I’ve almost given up on that dichotomy… Horgan is out there breaking that mold.”
When Trudeau green-lit TMX a second time last June, Canadians were owners of what Saganash’s NDP colleagues described as a $4.5 billion “leaky pipeline” that the prime minister indicated he was willing to sell lock, stock and barrel to Indigenous interests.
Since then, apart from several Indigenous consortiums expressing serious interest in acquiring the project, among them dozens of First Nations on the pipeline’s right-of-way – aka the Western Indigenous Pipeline Group – that talk has muted considerably.
In the wake of Trudeau’s minority government result in last week’s federal election, he and Morneau have been bullish about getting TMX built but short on details, including possible First Nation ownership.
With NDP holding the balance of power in a Trudeau minority, Gallagher said that Saganash’s UNDRIP bill, “will be coming right back… the (federal) NDP want it and their buddies in B.C. have already taken steps to add it.”
“They’re trying to green this funnel from the oil sands saying they’re going to put profits into green energy,” he said of rhetoric from Trudeau and Morneau on where profits on the nationalized project would be directed.
“And Trans Mountain doesn’t have it and it’s heading into a whole new environment in B.C. as of two o’clock yesterday… it was a pivotal moment. Funny that it happened just three days after the election.”
The Trudeau Liberals are trying to make a big deal about Andrew Scheer’s previous—now recanted—policy of providing tax credits to help parents afford the cost of private school.
With co-ordinated PMO messaging emanating from the Twitter accounts of multiple Liberal MPs, including top ministers, it’s clear that the Liberals think they can gain some traction on the issue.
However, the Liberal effort to draw attention to Scheer’s policy is also drawing attention to some uncomfortable realities for the Liberals doing the attacking.
As it turns out, many of them love sending their own kids to private schools, the exact thing they’re demonizing Scheer for having once wanted to make more affordable for parents.
As Cosmin Dzsurdzsa of The Post Millennial reported earlier, it turns out that Liberal Finance Minister Bill Morneau was formerly involved with a private school in Toronto:
According to a 2015 post by Toronto private school Greenwood College, Morneau formerly sat on the school’s Board of Directors and his son graduated from the school in the same year.
The financial section of the school’s website claims that annual tuition for the year 2019-2020 is $36,500, with an “initial enrollment fee” of $8,000.
Several other Liberal MPs including Chrystia Freeland and Julie Dabrusin were listed as current or former “Greenwood Parents on Parliament Hill.
So, the Liberals think it’s okay for them to send their kids to private schools, but demonize anyone who wants it easier for more Canadian parents to make that choice.
What’s going on here?
Is this just the typical hypocrisy of the Trudeau Liberals?
Perhaps, but it seems to be something more.
One of the things we’ve repeatedly witnessed from the elites is that they demand we all make “sacrifices” in our lives, while they refuse to make sacrifices themselves.
They claim that we must drive less, fly less, eat less meat, accept a lower standard of living, use less energy, and more, all to ‘save the planet,’ yet they continue their jet-setting lifestyles, often directly at taxpayer expense.
It seems that the Liberal elites simply don’t want the general public to have the choice of sending their children to private schools. After all, that would interfere with the connections and implied social power of having private schools remain the exclusive preserve of a small ruling class.
What this means is that when the Liberals attack the Conservatives on the issue of private schools, what they’re really trying to do is preserve their own hold over the elitist power structure—the exact same structure that led Trudeau on the path to power in the first place.
After all, Trudeau himself attended the same elitist private schools he now wishes to deny others the ability to access.