This will be the first full week that all Members of Parliament will be back in Ottawa and already a heavy partisan overtone is descending upon Parliament Hill. The issue buzzing around Ottawa at the moment is news reported from the CBC that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is billing taxpayers for the cost of two nannies. As CBC also reported this is in stark contrast to the comments made by Mr. Trudeau prior to the election that wealthy Canadian families did not need universal daycare subsidies. A point that also resonates with many in the NDP as a national daycare program was part of the NDP platform as opposed to a daycare plan solely that benefits the Prime Minister who currently earns $334,000 per year. From my own perspective as a Member of Parliament who is also a father to a family of four I do not believe taxpayers should provide special childcare subsidies to elected officials.
Other news released this week less political in nature is from Statistics Canada confirming that Canada’s GDP grew .6% in the third quarter ending in September. Expressed as an annualized rate this translates to real GDP expansion of 2.3% in the third quarter– a rate that also exceeded real GDP growth in the United States during the same time frame. As many will recall the Liberals were promising multiple deficit budgets on largely on account of inaccurate claims that Canada was in a recession. Will positive GDP growth result in revised Liberal Government deficit spending? Unlikely. Late last week the Trudeau Liberal Government announced a spending commitment of $2.65 Billion over the next 5 years to help other developing countries fight climate change. The list of other countries and how this money will be spent was not revealed however as this announcement was not part of the recent Liberal campaign promises and is not in the current budget it is widely expected that deficit spending will increase.
On the subject of deficit spending this week the Parliamentary Budget Officer released a report indicating that the new Liberal Government is not expected to balance the budget in the 2019-2020 fiscal period as is currently promised. According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer the projected deficit in 2019-2020 will be roughly $4.6 Billion and not a surplus of $1.7 Billion as forecast by the Liberal Government. Much of these projections are based on economic growth assumptions and as is always the case of Government there must also be consideration for Government spending increases or decreases. It will be critically important in this next Parliament that we work proactively and constructively on policies that will help encourage economic growth.
As mentioned previously with all Members of Parliament back in Ottawa this will be a very busy few weeks. On Wednesday all caucuses will be meeting as is common practice when the House of Commons is in session and on Thursday our new Speaker will be voted in with a new preferential secret ballot process that will be more timely then the run off process that has been used traditionally. On Friday Canadians will hear the new Liberal Governments throne speech that will outline the commitments and priorities of the new Liberal Government that can be expected in this session of Parliament. On Monday, December 7th, the House will officially resume in what is expected to be a one week session before the Christmas break begins. In next week’s report I will cover the throne speech and whatever bills are put before the House. As always I welcome your comments, questions and concerns. I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or toll free at 1-800-665-8711.
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Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.