PBO policy costing highlights uncertainty in novel Green Party spending promises
Editorial note: This article has been updated to better reflect the Parliamentary Budget Office’s Green Party platform costing report
The Green Party’s proposed election promises, and budgetary changes have been shown to come with several cost uncertainties and omissions.
Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre slammed the minority Liberal government and the media at a Sunday press conference in Ottawa, where he called on Finance Minister Bill Morneau to come up with a plan to “restart” the sagging Canadian economy that shed 71,000 jobs last month.
“Others here in the bubble, inside Ottawa, might be fascinated by the palace intrigue of leadership politics,” replied Poilievre to a reporter’s question about his party leader Andrew Scheer’s viability at the Conservative helm.
“But if you’re one of those 71,000 people who just lost your job in November, you probably couldn’t care less.”
Poilievre and the Opposition Conservatives are calling for on Morneau, “to present an urgent fall economic update to salvage Canada’s teetering economy.”
Last week, Statistics Canada posted the worst one-month job loss numbers in the country for a decade as 71,000 additional people were out of work for November 2019. This included 18,000 in British Columbia and 18,000 in Alberta. It was especially terrible news for Alberta as it has already shed more than 150,000 jobs since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau first took office in 2015.
According to the Carleton MP, whose riding is on the outskirts of the “Ottawa bubble”, the update should come with “major tax cuts for entrepreneurs and workers, so they can spend and invest and get out economy moving again.”
The Conservatives also want the government to cut “the insane, high levels of red tape holding (entrepreneurs) down,” said Poilievre. “(And) reassure investors by presenting a reasonable plan to help phase out the deficit in the medium term.”
With just five sitting days in the House of Commons scheduled before the Christmas break, Poilievre took exception with media queries about whether there was enough time to accomplish the task.
“You seem to be suggesting that our prime minister spent his first 10 days after the election surfing rather than working… the election was in October, they’ve had plenty of time,” replied Poilievre, referencing Trudeau’s Tofino trip, a post-election holiday he took after the October 21 vote.
“The storm clouds of our economy have been gathering overhead for a long time (and) the average Canadian wasn’t surfing in November. The average Canadian was worried about his or her job…and then we got a report that south of the border they had a quarter million new jobs.”
“So this is a made in Canada problem. It requires urgent action and we’re calling on the government to take that action by calling for a fall economic update.”
As for Morneau, Poilievre said if the finance minister were “competent, he’s got it already written. But that is not a safe assumption.”
“We’re prepared to work through the Christmas break, if necessary… and I’m sorry if Liberals have vacation plans. Cancel them.”
Asked whether the Conservatives red-tape cutting, lower taxes mantra was in need of an overhaul in light of the previous election result that boosted Conservatives presence in the Commons but failed to unseat Trudeau, Poilievre bristled.
“The trendy pundits that you bring on CBC… they tell us that we need to abandon everything we believe in. That we need to embrace big government, high deficits and high taxes,” replied the Carleton MP.
“That is the absolute worst thing Conservatives could do. That would be an electoral, political and economic disaster for the country if we went down that road. Our goal is not just to fit in with the four socialist parties. Our goal will be to stand out. To stand out as the only voice of taxpayers.”
A recent study by Statistics Canada revealed that Alberta has lost 18,000 jobs in November alone. The decline in jobs was across numerous industries but was affected most in wholesale and retail trade, according to the Labour Force Survey.
Total employment had seen little dramatic change over the past decade. The unemployment rate rose by 0.5 percent to 7.2 percent as early as August but has since rebounded to 6.6 percent in September and 6.7 percent in October according to StatsCan.
This isn’t just affecting Alberta alone, across the country 38,400 full-time jobs and 32,800 part-time jobs were lost in November. Canada’s overall unemployment rate went up 0.4 percent since October being the biggest one-month hike since 2009.
Manufacturing employment hasn’t been as affected over the past years but the natural resources sector saw about 25,000 lost jobs or 7.2 percent. Alberta and British Columbia taking the biggest hit. British Columbia lost 18,000 jobs in November.
The services-producing sector had a decrease in employment of about 25, 000 workers primarily in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta this November. Men between 25 to 54 and women aged 55 and older were most affected.
Calgary’s housing market is showing the fallout of this increase in unemployment. A decline of 2.2 per cent for the average new home since July 2018 according to the New Housing Price Index.
Jim Sparrow, a long-time realtor in Calgary told the CBC that “the resale prices have been falling for almost five years since the price of oil fell. We’ve sold fewer detached single family homes year to date than we did last year.” said Sparrow.
Even with the decline in prices, it’s the slowest year in Calgary real estate in 23 years. This has led to a decrease in the building of new homes as well.
“Buyers are really hard to find these days for homes in pretty much any price range,” said Sparrow.
Sparrow feels the oil and gas industries are struggling and is the reason for the downward shift in Calgary’s housing market.
“There’s a lot of people that aren’t impacted by the price of oil. But ultimately, I think they will be because Calgary still runs on oil and gas,” he said.
Calgary Real Estate Board chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie told the CBC, “When you take this many people out of the industry … they have no choice but to leave the province if they want to make a living.
“I don’t think we’re going to have any dramatic change in demand next year unless there’s a shift in economic conditions.” she said.
Trump tweets “Great Jobs Report!” as U.S. adds 266,000 jobs—Trudeau tweets nothing about economy as Canada loses 71,200
Justin Trudeau may be feeling like a funny guy after his “hot-mic” moment at the NATO summit, but now that reality has set back in, he’s facing a pretty horrible contrast with the guy he was laughing at.
Following the latest US jobs report, which is being called a “blowout report,” Trump tweeted in celebration of the US adding 266,000 jobs:
“GREAT JOBS REPORT!”
“This is a blowout. Look at these manufacturing numbers, a blowout.” @MariaBartiromo”
The US added a whopping 54,000 manufacturing jobs, and the overall report defied economists’ expectations of a slowdown.
So, things are going very well for the US economy.
Considering the strong growth in our neighbour to the south, you might think the same would be happening here in Canada.
Well, not so much.
If you’re looking for Justin Trudeau’s Tweet on the jobs report you’ll be looking for a while.
Unlike Trump, Trudeau hasn’t Tweeted about the economy today.
Perhaps that’s because, in contrast to the huge jobs gains in the US, Canada posted huge job losses.
The Canadian economy lost a staggering 71,200 jobs in November, the worst jobs report since 2009, when Canada was still dealing with the aftermath of the 2009 global economic crisis.
Additionally, the US unemployment rate is now 3.5%, closing in on the lowest unemployment rate since the Korean War in the 1950s.
Meanwhile, Canada’s unemployment rate has surged from 5.5% to 5.9%.
What we see once again is that Trudeau is constantly focused on virtue-signalling, rather than results.
Sure, he had a fun time laughing at Trump during the NATO summit, but that doesn’t change the reality that America can defend itself and Canada can’t, and it doesn’t change the reality that the US economy is strengthening while Canada’s is weakening.
At some point, reality is unavoidable, and no amount of virtue-signalling can disguise the damage being caused by terrible government policy.
The Liberals are putting the boot of government regulation on the throat of the Canadian energy industry, tearing apart our national unity, piling more and more carbon taxes on the Canadian People, and pushing investment to other countries.
So, it’s no surprise that while other countries are getting richer and richer and creating jobs for their citizens, Canadians are struggling under a mounting debt burden, and are falling further and further behind.
The contrast between Trump’s Tweet on the economy and Trudeau’s avoidance of the topic just goes to show that the US and Canada are moving in different directions economically, and that’s very bad news for Canada at a time when things are already looking increasingly bleak.
Councillors in Victoria, British Columbia are trying to raise their salary by more than 50 percent. They are also hoping to provide additional benefits, according to the Times Colonist.
In an online survey on Victoria’s budget, the City asked respondents whether they would agree to raise their salary to $70,100. This figure is the same median salary for city employees. Overall, this is an increase of $25,000.
Councillors are currently paid around $45,000 a year, and the mayor of Victoria receives $113,000 a year. There are no plans to alter the mayor’s salary.
Speaking to the Times, a councillor justified their pay raise by saying the city wanted to “attract professionals and others, and not just have very wealthy people serve on the council, I think we do have to set the compensation at a level that [would attract] younger people.”
The current salaries were set in 2009 upon the review of an independent commission.