Canada’s Fiscal Future is in Jeopardy
Plus my opposition to government censorship Bill C-11 and explaining the Beijing Election Interference Case
The state of Canada’s finances are bleak. In a report outlining the economic and fiscal outlook for 2023, the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) expects stagnation in the year ahead along with rosy projections on interest rate and inflation. Of greatest concern is how the NDP-Liberal coalition have chosen to spend, spend, and spend while ignoring the worrying trends in federal government spending. There is no balanced budget in the future and debt costs continue to go up. However, there is one single line item that is most worrying, one that is shooting upwards in a budget spend approaching half a trillion annually: elderly benefits.
In six short years, the federal government will be spending close to $100 billion on elderly benefits. It is more than triple than what the federal government will spend on transfers for all children’s benefits in 2027-2028 and more than any amount allocated to the Canada Health Transfer, a program that is currently unable to fully support our ailing healthcare system. There is a popular saying: don’t tell me what you believe, show me where you spend, and I will tell you your priorities. Despite claims of investing in the new middle class, supporting the healthcare system, clearing the immigration backlog and numerous other policy stances, it is clear what the Liberal government’s priorities are. Soon, one fifth of our budget will be elderly benefits and an averaged 7% increase per year in spending will land Canada in financial hot water. It seems like we cannot even trust the forecasts presented by this government. The 2022 budget had forecast spending on elderly benefits at $87.2 billion. The outlook provided by the PBO differs by $6.7 billion, an incredible amount of money and proportion.
So far, the Liberal government has proposed no plans to account for this drastic increase in spending in the future. They must remember one thing: taxpayers are not a bottomless source of tax revenue. The cost of living crisis has had a serious impact on Canadian households and their ability to make ends meet at the end of each month. By worsening the financial outlook due to irrational policy decisions, the Liberal government has increased the tax burden on everyday Canadians and worsened the costs associated with these approaching benefits. The NDP-Liberal coalition have made costly decisions to simply borrow the difference and it could mean higher taxes in the future. The Liberal government has proven to be an expensive choice for taxpayers, whether it be the carbon tax that imposed more costs than rebates on Albertans or escalator alcohol taxes on Canadian distillers and brewers. Adding further taxes to account for the increased spending for the future will leave the next generations deeper in a debt hole.
A more effective government would consider other alternatives to increase revenues and improve our fiscal position. For example, some of the funds could be obtained by actually directing the public service to collect on past misspent money. The Auditor General in recent reports on COVID spending found that $14.5 billion was misspent between CERB and CEWS, the two largest pandemic spending programs. However, the Liberal government announced it won’t bother collecting on these misspent pandemic benefits. The head of the Canada Revenue Agency, in testimony before the Public Accounts Committee, said recouping the money was “not worth the effort”. Those comments drew heavy criticism from the PBO saying that Canadians are not getting the level of service they should expect for what they pay from their public service and called on the Liberal government to crack the whip. Treating taxpayers in this manner is wrong. This is not the government that we can entrust with financial decision-making.
Serious questions will continue on the future stability of our federal government’s revenue and spending sources. When one government program, namely elderly benefits, is about to consume one fifth of the total annual spending, we should ask serious questions about our fiscal future. We will spend on elderly benefits more than twice what the GST brings in annually. Much more than twice what we spend on our total national defence’s budget every year. Triple what we spend on children’s benefits. It begs the question: what are our priorities as Canadians for the 21st century and how can set ourselves up for success if our financial position is hobbled by wasteful government spending and an inability to plan for the future?
As the NDP-Liberal coalition gets closer to making public budget 2023, I will be reviewing closely what future spending will look like and whether the Canadian taxpayer is going again to be asked to pay the difference for misspending, bad policy and the practice of kicking the can down the road on hard decisions involving major programs.
Voting Against C-11 and Government Censorship
C-11 will make the Liberal government a content regulator, allowing it to control what Canadians can see and watch online. Several senate amendments to C-11 to protect user uploaded content have been rejected by the Liberal government and debate is underway in Parliament. I have started my part in the debate and am the current speaker on C-11 when debate resumes in Parliament. I will be providing my full assessment of the newest changes to C-11 to residents of Calgary Shepard soon.
A Poilievre-led Conservative government will repeal Bill C-11 and continue to protect the individual rights and freedoms of all Canadians online. Check out my quick thoughts on C-11 before debate kicked off.
Explaining the Beijing Election Interference Case
Recent reports have highlighted the extent of foreign interference conducted in the 2019 and 2021 federal elections by the People’s Republic of China. Allegations from top secret intelligence documents provided to journalists reveal that the Beijing government interfered in specific ridings in Vancouver and Toronto for preferred candidates with illegal cash donations, bullying and intimidation of voters and directing volunteers including manipulating international students with threats to help specific candidates. A foreign diplomat even took credit for the defeat of two conservative MPs.
Canadians alone ought to decide the outcomes of our elections, free of foreign interference of any sort. I recently sat down with MP Jamie Schmale on his podcast, ‘The Blueprint’, to discuss the CCP’s interference in Canada’s democratic processes and any next steps the federal government should take in response. Watch the discussion below.
I agree with @cbronwenthomas and @jitendra bharthi. As the opposition it’s easy to be a critic. What is the solution? Or is the better question, is there a solution? Or maybe the question is, is this all just smoke and mirrors?? As a senior I have a very slanted view to using our demographic as an problem. During our working / contributing years, I can’t remember not paying our share of the tax burden. I might suggest our generation was quite generous as so much of success was based on making more money. More money = more taxes. Very few made it to the uber-privileged position of tax loopholes and paying less than our fair share. To say that pointing a finger at our pensions and so-called senior benefits is disheartening to say the least.
The Canadian people in general have lost trust in government and it will take a monumental effort to start to rebuild that trust. If the Conservative government is keen to do that, I suggest you better start looking at cost-cutting measures within the government sector before you start pointing fingers at groups of tax payers. I can assure you that there are still a vast number of so called retirees who continue to pay taxes. There are many places that appear to be sucking the teat of the sacred cow.
We’ve stood by and watched government after government spend, spend, spend. Shame on us, yes, but when we get painted in a corner, things could easily take a not-pretty turn. Just saying.
T. Hampel / retiree / continuing taxpayer/ disillusioned voter
These figures are indeed alarming, however they are not detailed enough to permit an informed opinion regarding the sums spent on Seniors versus Children....
How much of this is due to demographics? What is the dollar spend per elder versus per child?
These numbers appear to relate only to direct federal transfers rather than overall taxpayer support from the various levels of government. Does the federal government provide more of the total spend per elder than per child? For instance, the provinces spend huge sums on education (as they should), but those costs are not do not appear to be reflected in these numbers. Are the costs for childcare subsidies included?
I could go on and on.....