Big Spenders: Political Budget Focuses On Women and Indigenous
With over a year to go before Canadians go to the polls to vote in the next federal election, no one expected Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s third budget to announce any earth shattering initiatives.
What was surprising was the political slant of the budget – $21.5 billion in new spending over six years, with no mention of controlling deficit, which will balloon to $19.4 billion, well over the $10 billion promised.
The measures found in Morneau’s “Equality + Growth” budget – pay equity legislation, parental leave, billions in spending on Indigenous spending – lean heavily to the left side of the political spectrum, obvious in order to attract NDP voters for next year’s elections. “I would consider this to be very much a left-of-centre budget,” says Craig Alexander, chief economist for the Conference Board of Canada
While there are huge investments in science and technology the bulk of the money spent will go toward promoting women in the workforce and righting past injustices against Canada’s Indigenous people, improving housing and infrastructure. All new spending measures will be undertaken with these two groups in mind.
Opposition leader Andrew Scheer critized the Trudeau government for not attempting to pay down the deficit. “Justin Trudeau said he’d run ‘modest’ deficits for ‘a couple’ of years,” tweeted Scheer. “He’s broken his promise, borrowing billions more than he said he would and raising taxes to pay the bill.”
CARP was very disappointed not to see some kind of protection for pensioners whose plans go bankrupt, as happened at Sears Canada earlier this year.