Listen Up! Trudeau’s main issue ahead of the federal election is DEBT

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Hugh Mackenzie
Huntsville Doppler

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has just given his year-end address to the Nation. He tells us to bring light into the lives around us and find strength in our differences. He tells us to be nice to each other. That’s all well and good, but what is it he is actually bringing to us as we enter 2019 and a federal election year? To be fair, right now, our economy appears to be strong and unemployment is down.

The Prime Minister likely feels he has a pretty good chance of sliding in to another four years of office come next October. He may well do that, as at the moment, there doesn’t appear to be much effective competition out there. However, let’s dig a little deeper into the challenges that face Mr. Trudeau as he heads into a fall election.

The main issue, of course is debt. It is not one that seems to worry the majority of Canadians, in this age of populism, but it should. In his first three-plus years in Government, Justin Trudeau has set this country on the road to economic disaster. Take a look at these numbers.

In 2015 when the Liberals took office the deficit was between zero and one billion dollars, depending on whether you believe Trudeau or Harper. Trudeau was the first Prime Minister in my memory to campaign on increasing the deficit but he promised to keep it under $10 billion. At that time, he said, “A balanced budget in four years is very cast in stone”. Well, that didn’t quite happen, did it?

In 2016, the deficit was $17.8 billion and the deficit for the 2017-18 fiscal year is projected to be $28.5 billion. What is absolutely astounding is that the Government now just shrugs and says the budget will not be balanced until 2040! It almost sounds like Trump! Many of us will be dead by then, so perhaps we shouldn’t give a damn. But our children and grandchildren will not be, and they will have to deal with this staggering and unconscionable debt. It doesn’t just go away.

In 2015, our National debt was $612.3 billion. Three years later, in 2018 it is $665 billion. Can you imagine what it will be in 2040? Even now, Canadians pay $75 million each and every day in interest on our debt and our debt grows daily by almost $49.6 million.

Trudeaus’ response?  “I think Canadians expect a level of fiscal responsibility that we have been able to demonstrate in the past and we are certainly going to demonstrate in the future.”  REALLY???

The Trudeau Government is making a huge issue out of climate change and so they should. It is another question if a carbon tax is the answer to the problem, but there can be no doubt that our future is at risk if we do not put our minds to effectively combatting the effects of global warming.

Why then, is our economic survival not equally important? The Trudeau Government is spending like a drunken sailor and ignoring issues that bolster our long-term economic interests. When it comes to the economy and giving people what they want, it is all about today and who cares about tomorrow?

Instead of alienating much of Western Canada, why is the Trudeau government not moving heaven and earth to get a pipeline built so oil producing provinces can get their product to market and bolster their economy?  They don’t need or want a handout. They desperately need a pipeline. The latest slowdown tactic from the Prime Minister, is that the pipeline “must go through a gender-based analysis because male construction workers have impacts.” Give me a break!

Then there is our declining reputation as a trading nation. Whatever the reasons, (and some of them are legitimate), Canada is now at odds with Russia, China, the United States, Saudi Arabia and India. All are heavy investors in Canada. What is this Government’s strategy for bolstering trade? And why have we signed the new NAFTA agreement without being released from the punitive tariffs on aluminum and steel imposed by a grumpy Trump? This is a huge economic issue for Canada.

At the expense of our relationship with China, Canada recently co-operated with the United States in detaining Huawei CFO Meng Wanshou. What an opportunity the Prime Minister had and missed, to make this conditional on Trump removing the tariffs. Make no mistake, deals like this happen all the time. Now China is mad at us and we still have the tariffs. A lose, lose situation.

Another issue that burns my butt, is that by any standard, here we are seriously in debt, with no plan to recover, yet the Government can find $600 million in grants and tax incentives to subsidize media, much of which is left leaning and supportive of the Liberals. If you doubt that, remember a major lobbyist for this was the Toronto Star’s John Honderich. Funny timing with an election coming, isn’t it?  And to top it off, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has no trouble announcing by Tweet, that he his sending $50 million of our money to his celebrity buddy, Trevor Noah, to support a charity outside this country. Drunken sailors indeed!

With less than ten months left before the Federal election, Justin Trudeau has much to account for. He may well hang in for another four years, but he should not get a free ride. Despite his “Sunny days” and “Don’t worry, be happy” persona, his actual record of making Canada better, safer and economically secure, has left much to be desired. Not a lot to be proud of, in my view.

Happy New Year!

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12 Comments

  1. I agree Hugh. Well said.
    However we need three or four pipelines not one.
    We must complete our contract with Saudi Arabia for the armoured vehicles and solicit more.
    We must vastly improve our military equipment aquisition proceedures which are a national embarrassment. We must end supply management. We must be realistic on the climate file.
    And there is so much more.
    Obviously the current government isn’t even intetested in achieving these things.
    Poor Canada.
    Happy New Year to all.

  2. Hugh I agree with everything you said. Justin is in over his head and the cost down the road is going to be very concerning.

  3. Claude Doughty on

    As bad as our federal debt is, the province of Ontario’s debt is a much bigger problem for us. Ontario is the largest non-sovereign debtor IN THE WORLD. The outstanding Ontario debt is over $320 BILLION and growing rapidly. In 1986 it was $30 BILLION. Our interest costs on the debt are now over $1 BILLION per month OR OVER $30 MILLION A DAY!!!!! Add this to our federal debt and the legacy we leave for the next generation is absolutely unconscionable.
    We need to show the debt clock on the masthead of websites such as Doppler to raise awareness and create the political will to act aggressively before its all over.

  4. Sherri McGrath on

    This is simple gaslighting. Conservatives led this country for 10 years and only increased the deficit. While doing so they made cuts to make it harder for the young people, seniors, and the vulnerable. Muskoka requires thoughtful leadership as does the country in these times. Muskoka is filled with poverty, addiction, abuse and the Conservatives do zero about it, they use this bull to scare you into voting against yourself. Muskokans get forgotten. We need a representative that understands that we need to look to other markets for jobs (think green) and we need community funded programs for young families and affordable housing. None of that will come from a conservative govt and certainly not from Clement whom is too busy using Instagram. We need to pay attention to platforms and policy not scare tactics about a deficit the cons never care about when they are in charge. We have options say no to the corporate welfare party. Do not listen to the wealthy entitled people in this area they only have their interest at heart.

  5. I would like to read a lengthy piece from Sherri McGrath with say, 10 points with details showing exactly what she would do to remedy the many grievances she obviously has with the system as we know it.
    Detailing specific measures and their ramifications required. This useful detail would set her submission apart from simply being a pointless negative partisan whine.

    I agree with Claude Doughty that the Provincial debt is a disaster demanding unusual measures beginning immediately. Ontario’s situation is all the more serious as our provincial population is relatively small to own such a staggering debt.

  6. Sherri McGrath ,, just more conservative bashing! You did read the fed’debt’ issue? Project to to ‘2040’? You do ‘understand’ who was in charge in Ont for 15 years? LIBERALS! And look at the mess this province is in! Try this .. “You can ignore reality.. but you cannot ignore the consequences of reality!”
    Claude Doughty .. nailed it! and Who was in charge in Ont to create this mess? Liberals for 15 years!
    ….
    This country is a mess in every facet of government measurement and the facts don’t lie! The FED Liberal SJW agenda does not work. The FED Liberal narrative does not work. The liberal FED ideology does not work. Everyone can ‘goggle’ and see for yourself what is wrong with this country … way to far left, too much left vote baiting and debt! Sooner or later the ‘credit card’ needs to be paid and we need to get back to basic ‘wants’ and ‘needs’ and … one more time … “”You can ignore reality.. but you cannot ignore the consequences of reality!” VOTE 2019!

  7. Hugh, using your figures implies that the debt is actually growing independently of the deficit. $612.3 B (2015 debt) + [$49.6 M (debt interest/day) x 365 x 3] = $666.6 B. This is greater than the $665 B (2018 debt) which has you so exercised. Don’t get me wrong: The debt is an horrendous issue; but it’s an inherited issue, so please don’t quibble about miscellaneous items within the deficit.
    .
    As is Mr. Doughty, I am far more concerned about our provincial debt, and the draconian measures that our Premier has chosen to reduce it. As a multimillionaire, he has preferred, to date, to attack the most vulnerable of his constituents; rather than to tax, say our wealthiest 1%, at a higher rate. The Child Advocate disappeared; as did the Environment Commissioner, the French Services Commissioner, and apparently any hope of a French University. Then $25 M was removed from the Social Services budget (formerly earmarked for persons with autism and other serious disabilities, and at-risk youth). These measures have no discernible effect on the deficit; and can only be characterized as mean-spirited.
    .
    Comparing Trudeau and Ford is not merely an exercise in politics. The former has character, empathy, and integrity; the latter has wealth, with no redeeming features. I weep for Ontario.

  8. Edward Johnson on

    Dear Hugh
    I’m sorry to disturb you on this glorious first day of the new year, but there’s been a bit of a production foul-up down at the Doppler. One of the production team (perhaps a bit too much New Years cheer?) appears to have pushed the wrong button and substituted Conservative Leader Andrew Sheer’s speaking notes for your year-end column.
    It’s the usual partisan nonsense, full of half-truth and invective. But you needn’t worry; those of us who know you and enjoy your columns know you didn’t write it. We look forward to your next thoughtful and constructive piece.
    Sorry to have to tell you all this, but thought you should know.

  9. What happened to the concept that “if you can’t afford it, you can’t have it”!
    These folks spend like drunken sailors (although living in Muskoka we don’t see too many actual sailors). The point is that the spending simply needs to be reduced. End of story. It is easy to see so could they please get on to this issue.
    You can have all the greatest ideas in the world to save the climate, move oil and so on but if none of them can be afforded they are not much good.

    Perhaps, while the political types are working they could publish a clear and understandable accounting of how the Carbon Tax is actually going to work… for you and me and a million other small business people. That alone would be helpful! I’d be happy to pay a little more for things if someone could show me how this will actually help the world climate. So far nobody has shown me this data. Just scare journalism, rumours and confusion. It makes it hard to know what to do.

    • Brian, great points. The reality is Trudeau doesn’t have a climate change plan, he only has a Carbon tax. It will do nothing for the climate… but then, as all things Trudeau, it’s all about appearance, not about getting real results.

      My next few Doppler articles get into what I think should be done … there are no silver bullets on the climate change matter.

  10. I read this on a political website this morning and it’s too good not to share:

    “Trudeau may be the avatar of all things progressive, but even if he were genuine, social policy is largely irrelevant in Canada. The Liberals have some truly awful cabinet ministers in Morneau, O Regan, McKenna, Joly and Sajjan. Gerald Butts, the de facto leader, is setting the country up for an economic malaise that could repeat the mid 70s’ to mid 90’s with deficits about nothing, provincial squabbles and policies sending investment out of the country. Butts is a master tactician who crafts a PM persona that plays to the most primal Canadian instincts: anti-Americanism, moral superiority and a yearning to be noticed. Luckily, Trump makes the persona easy to believe.”

    Note the author’s concern here with the debt. Gerald Butts worked for Dalton McGuinty, and it was he who helped push our province into the financial mess that it finds itself in now. Butts is a left wing partisan who is advancing a strategy that would be more in line with the “Leap Manifesto” arm of the NDP. This will not end well for Canada

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