The Liberal 2015 campaign promise was to deliver three years of “modest” $10 billion-dollar deficits with a return to a balanced budget in 2019. This week the Liberals presented the 2019 budget that clearly reveals Justin Trudeau not only broke his “very cast in stone” promise to return to a balanced budget but also that he made no effort to do so.
The 2019/20 deficit forecast is set at close to $19.8 billion; this is on top of the $60 billion in deficits added in the first three Liberal budgets.
The current budget indicates there is no path to balance until at least the year 2040, by that point racking up an additional $271 Billion in new debt. So where is all of the money going?
Program spending is a significant part with an increase of $22.8 billion in spending over the next five years. Here’s a brief summary of some of that from the 2019 Budget:
… A new job retraining program for eligible workers aged between 25-64 that will provide up to $250 per year to a career maximum of $5000.
… An increase to the maximum a first-time home owner can borrow from their RRSP from 25,000 that will now be increased to a limit of $35,000.
… A new shared equity home ownership plan where CHMC will provide a shared matching contribution between 5-10% towards the down payment on a new or existing home. Citizens with a household income under $120,000 can qualify on homes up to a maximum value of $400,000.
… Those who can afford to purchase a new electrical vehicle may now be eligible for up to a $5,000 federal credit on the purchase.
There is also a commitment to spend $35 million over 4 years to create a new federal Canadian drug agency, assumedly in Ottawa, that can work towards bulk buying drugs on a national scale. Additionally, aboriginal communities will also receive $1.4 billion over 7 years to forgive outstanding legal fees resulting from treaty and land negotiations. Indigenous groups that have already paid these fees can be eligible to have them repaid under this program.
Interest rates on Canada Student Loans will be lowered to prime and will be interest-free for 6 months after graduation, $553 million has been budgeted over the next 3 years to attempt to fix the failed Phoenix pay system, and there will also be changes to the GIS income earning threshold so that a working senior may claim more income without affecting the GIS support levels.
This is only a brief summary of some of the measures contained in the 2019 federal budget.
Many critics have largely labelled it a “political goodies budget” specially targeting certain voting demographics that the Liberals hope will translate to votes in the October election. I will reserve my own thoughts in an upcoming MP report.
question this week: “Do you like what you see in the 2019 Budget so far?”
I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.