Budget 2023 – Liberal Government continues to Spend, Spend, Spend
Plus censorship in Bill C-11, donating my parliamentary pay raise, and a new postcard survey
Budget 2023 – Liberal Government continues to Spend, Spend, Spend
Budget 2023 demonstrated two important lessons for Canadians: half a trillion dollar budgets are the new norm in Ottawa through pure fiscal mismanagement and the Liberal government continues to grow further out of touch with the problems everyday Canadians are going through. Conservatives came into this week with three simple requests: that the budget offers lower taxes for workers, the end of inflationary deficits driving up the cost of goods, and to remove the gatekeepers and increase the building of homes across the country. None of these requests were met. Instead, this year’s federal spending is projected at $496.6 billion, including a $43 billion spending spree that only brings new inflation, debt, and taxes that will be on the backs of everyday, hardworking Canadians.
During his time in office, the Prime Minister added more debt than all other prime ministers combined, including both world wars. Despite the pandemic being over, government spending is still up over $120 billion compared to pre-pandemic spending levels. In 2019, Canada’s program spending was $323 billion. For 2023-2024, government spending is projected to be $447 billion. Debt is expected to hit $1.22 trillion, working out to $81,000 per household in Canada.
With every passing budget, the Liberal government fails to meet yet more objectives that they set out. Their own projections on the debt-to-GDP ratio. In Budget 2022, the finance minister said that Canada’s debt-to-GDP ratio was her fiscal anchor. For Canada’s finances to be sustainable, debt-to-GDP needed to decline. The finance minister insisted that it was a “line we shall not cross” and that the pandemic debt “will be paid down”.
Yet, according to Budget 2023, Canada’s debt-to-GDP ratio is projected to increase from 42.4 percent in 2022-2023 to 43.5 percent in 2023-2024. Why does this statistic matter? This ratio is a signal to understand a country’s ability to pay back its debts. If it is low, it is a good signal that a country is producing more than it owes, placing it on a strong financial footing. Unfortunately, these numbers demonstrate that Canada has regressed in its financial footing, due to more unnecessary spending that isn’t being paid for by any broader attempt to allow the private sector to grow the economy. The only solution they have is taxation. Taxes are going up April 1st, like the carbon tax, the excise tax on alcohol and payroll taxes are up. The Liberal government expects to bring in nearly $50 billion more in income tax revenue from workers in the near future. We cannot tax our way to prosperity.
Where does it end? The future balanced budget promised last year is now gone. The deficit for 2022-2023 is up to $43 billion. This fiscal year, the deficit is projected to be $40.1 billion. Let’s not forget that in the Fall Economic Statement just a few months ago, the Liberal government projected a $4.5 billion surplus in 2027-2028. Now, Budget 2023 projects a $14 billion deficit in 2027-2028, an $18.5 billion swing into the red. Add in the increased cost of $43.9 billion to service Canada’s enormous debt, including higher interest rates, and the financial hole Canada is in gets worse and worse.
Despite consistently introducing new spending, the Liberal government is not responding to the needs of Canadians. On April 1st, the Liberal carbon tax will be increased to $65/per tonne, which means that the price of gasoline, home heating and other fuels will see a corresponding increase. The annual increase is another step in the Liberal goal to triple the tax and bring it to $170/per tonne by 2030. Other taxes on beer, restaurants, and payroll further add to the tax burden. The Liberal government continues to claim their carbon rebate will net out more than its cost. The independent Parliamentary Budget Officer reviewed the data and found the carbon tax will cost the average family between $402 and $847 in 2023, even after the promised rebates. These are net costs. Businesses, big and small, are not eligible for any carbon rebates so they will pass higher costs on to you, the consumer.
The cost of food and groceries have skyrocketed. 1 in 5 Canadians are skipping meals and more Canadians are going to food banks. Despite these problems, all the budget offers is $234 for a single adult and $467 for a family of four through a re-branding of the GST rebate for lower-income Canadians. The Greater Vancouver Food Bank noted that the rebate “will help in a momentary way for a week”, nothing more. Additionally, it does not come close to meeting the price increases observed this year. Canada’s Food Price Report 2023 predicts that a family of four will spend up to $1,065 more on food this year, $598 more than the $467 rebate that they will receive. It won’t solve the cost-of-living crisis driving many struggling Canadians already over the edge. It is also dishonest to brand an increase to the GST rebate as a "grocery" rebate. Grocery prices are higher because inflation is running high and the responsibility for that lays solely with the inflationary fiscal spending by the Liberal government.
Nothing in the budget speaks to another important matter: housing. Under this government, the minimum down payment has gone from $22,000 to $45,000. Monthly mortgage and rent payments have also nearly doubled. When the Prime Minister took office, the average monthly payment for a new house was $1400. It is now $3100. Rent for a two bedroom apartment was $1172, and now it is $2153. By every objective measurement, things are more expensive, and Canadians are taking home less. Canada needs 3.5 million more homes than projected to restore affordability. The U.S., with a population 10x our size, only needs 5 million additional homes. Budget 2023 does nothing to solve this. To make matters worse, home construction costs are up $70,000 from pre-pandemic levels according to Canada's national builder association.
Only Conservatives over the past several years have stood up to the Prime Minister’s reckless spending. We have consistently opposed every tax increase by the Liberal government in the past several years. We fought against drastic government expenditures that increase inflation and costs for Canadian. We pushed for a freer economy and country that rewards hard work as well as gives Canadians a chance at a life they seek: higher paycheques, a home of their own, and a better life with a decent retirement. Budget 2023 does nothing to further these objectives and instead Canada’s fiscal position continues to spiral downwards. It is time to make Canada work for the people who have done the work. I will be voting against this budget.
Censorship in Bill C-11
Bill C-11 will allow the Liberal government to control what Canadians can see or watch online. Conservatives have been fighting this bill since day one. Yesteray, the Liberal government shut down debate in order to ram through their censorship bill. On Thursday night, MPs voted on whether to send the bill back to the Senate with a list of senate amendments accepted and rejected by the federal government. A Poilievre government will repeal Bill C-11 and protect the individual rights and freedoms of Canadians.
Watch me explain the specific concerns I have with C-11 and Clause 7 that gives control to the federal government to direct the CRTC.
Donating my Parliamentary Pay Raise
The past few years have been a time of economic hardship. The economic devastation from COVID-19, the ever-increasing cost-of living brought about by rampant inflation, and massive government deficits has taken its toll on Albertans. Grocery bills have shot upwards, interest rate hikes have drastically affected mortgage payments, federal government deficits continue to increase amid scheduled tax increases, and oil prices continue to fluctuate wildly. It is a difficult time.
The last thing Canadians want to see is politicians in Ottawa get salary increases when all the federal government has done is made life harder for them. Legislative changes made by the Liberal Paul Martin government in 2005 mandates the indexation of salaries and allowances for public service workers, as well as for MPs and Senators. These raises are based on the average percentage increase of base-rate wages in Canada for each fiscal year. This was a good legislative initiative to stop politicians from voting for their own raises. The side effect to making it automatic is a loss of direct control during a crisis. This means that every MP will receive a scheduled, automatic pay raise on April 1, 2023. I am unable to decline the pay raise or to redirect it. I am also not given an opportunity to vote on it or debate the matter directly and the Liberal government has chosen not to address the issue through legislation.
I understand the financial hardship faced by my neighbours and residents of Calgary Shepard in these prolonged difficult times. I have chosen to donate the entirety of my salary increase to charities and charitable causes. Albertans have been forced to endure hardships and made sacrifices above anything experienced in the past generation. Political leaders must take them into account.
New Postcard Survey
One of the great difficulties of elected officials is ensuring their constituent’s voices are heard and conveyed in Parliament. To ensure your voices are heard, I often send out survey and mailers, seeking to hear your thoughts and concerns. With technology always in flux and with an overwhelming amount of information on the web, my surveys are a way to cut through the noise of social media and to speak directly to you.
Over the next few weeks, a new postcard survey will be sent to the riding. The first two surveys will be on the new conservative proposal to create a blue seal program to accelerate the recognition of international credentials of doctors and nurses and the other survey will be on C-11 and its censorship of your viewing content.
Agree or disagree with me, feel free to reply, and let me know how I can best serve you. As always, I look forward to reading your responses to my mailers I send out. I read each survey that comes back with your feedback.