During the 2015 election campaign Justin Trudeau made a promise, and I quote directly, "In 2019/20, we will balance the budget".
Last Thursday the Liberal Government introduced a budget update that confirms this is yet another broken promise from Mr. Trudeau.
The Liberal fall fiscal update announced that the annual federal budget deficit is projected to increase by nearly $2 billion to $19.6 billion next year.
The debt to GDP ratio that Mr. Trudeau had promised, and again I quote directly, “In 2019/20, we will reduce the federal debt-to-GDP ratio to 27 percent” will actually hit 30.9%
Canada’s federal debt is projected to hit $688 billion in the current fiscal year and the most recent projections indicate that it will increase to $765 billion by 2023-2024.
Depending on interest rates the cost of servicing that level of debt would be roughly $34 billion a year.
To put $34 billion in debt service fees into perspective, the Government of Canada transferred just over $37 Billion to Canadian provinces and territories in fiscal 2017-18 to help provide for health care costs.
So where is the majority of this new spending going in the fall fiscal update?
As former Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page has commented "We're deficit-financing the corporate sector,”.
The Liberals have introduced an accelerated tax write-off program allowing manufacturers to immediately recover the full cost of machinery and equipment.
The NDP have categorized this program as a $14 Billion “giveaway for Canada’s richest corporations, and offering nothing to Canadians who are struggling to make ends meet and facing record levels of household debt.”
To be fair to the Liberal Government, there are other measures announced in the fall fiscal update not related to the accelerated machinery and equipment write off.
One of those is a new $595 Million fund to subsidize some Canadian media organizations.
This particular announcement has raised serious concerns from many prominent journalists on the important role of journalistic independence from government.
The Liberals have indicated they will appoint a panel to decide who is and who is not eligible for funding under this program.
From my perspective this raises concerns.
If a media organization is denied funding what recourse does it have?
Should it change the style or tone of reporting?
Cover different stories?
Hire a lobbyist?
The fact that the Liberals introduced this media subsidy in an election year raises many more concerns.
My question this week:
Are you concerned by this government's introduction of an arbitrary media subsidy fund going into an election year?
I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll free 1-888-665-8711.
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Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.