If you follow my weekly reports often you will know at times I find it frustrating when much of the Ottawa bubble is consumed on somewhat isolated issues that often overshadow other important concerns. Currently the topic of the Prime Minister’s winter vacation to a private Bahamas Island and more specifically the possibly illegal use of a private helicopter remains the focus in Ottawa of many media reports. In my report from last week I explained why the vacation issue was a concern however as the Deputy Critic for Finance I have a duty to point out there is other, very serious financial information Canadians deserve to be made aware of.
If you followed the last Federal election closely you will know that the Prime Minister promised to run modest deficits of $10 billion annually and would return to a balanced budget in the year 2019. Shortly before Christmas the Finance Department released updated fiscal forecast reports that indicate in fact that without deliberate and direct action by Liberal Government, Finance Canada projects that we will not return to a balanced budget until at least the year 2050. If the current Liberal trend of running deficits that are much larger than the promised $10 Billion a year also occurs Canadians total debt will be at an alarming level of $1.55 trillion by that point in time.
What is more concerning is as much as the Liberals have promised all of this spending is going to building Infrastructure the Parliamentary Budget Officer also released a report on January 10th that states, and I quote directly “Government’s planned investments in infrastructure spending have not materialized in the first half of the year. Infrastructure transfers administered by Transport and Infrastructure Canada fell in comparison to the previous year”. In other words infrastructure spending is actually in decline. In reality it is Government operational spending that has increased. Where has this money gone? Statistics Canada shows that the Trudeau Liberal Government hired 14,000 more government bureaucrats to work in the National Capital Region alone in 2016 and a recent 5.5% pay raise plus a signing bonus for many federal government employees has also added many billions of new debt that in turn has resulted in increased operational spending.
As I have also past pointed out increased debt means increased payments on the interest of that debt that in turn results in less money available to fund other government programs, services and projects. Inevitably it will likely also lead to higher taxation that reduces net take home pay. As you may have heard the Liberal Government has also recently admitted they are giving serious consideration to tax changes that may impact many Canadians. As one example if you currently receive any healthcare benefits provided by your employer the Liberal Government has indicated these may become taxable benefits in the near future. This would be particularly punitive here in BC as we are Canada’s only Province that charges MSP premiums for healthcare.
I appreciate my report this week will not sit well with some citizens however I should also point out these are actual events that will at some point affect future Canadian taxpayers. Some in Ottawa have gone so far as to suggest given this recent fiscal news the Liberal Government prefers talking about private helicopter trips compared to increased taxes, higher debt and deficits as a result of increased operational spending with little infrastructure to show for it. As the Deputy Finance Critic and as your Member of Parliament I will continue to hold the Liberal Government to account on these concerns and welcome your comments and questions. I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or toll free 1-800-665-8711.
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Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament elect for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.