Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau leave the prime minister's office to table the federal budget in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018. Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS
A budget that doesn’t help families but does deepen the country’s debt was not one Portage-Lisgar MP Candice Bergen wanted to see.
Describing the budget as “disappointing” Bergen said they had hoped to see more.
“We were hoping we might see prudence in the budget, that was coming forward in terms of some return to balance or not just massive spending,” Bergen said hours after the federal budget was presented. “It’s just a typical Justin Trudeau Liberal budget whereby the deficit is going to be three times what he said it was going to be.”
This year’s budget includes an $18 billion deficit, and the number becomes much worse when you consider other factors.
“If you include the amount of debt crown corporations will have and the federal government, we’re going to be a trillion dollars in debt,” she said. “Never before have we seen a government spend so much money with so little results.”
In fact, Bergen said the only people who will be happy about the budget are bankers, or those who work on Bay Street, since they’ll benefit from the interest payments.
Bergen said she hoped to see some effort to help families. “When we were in government we were always trying to think of new ways that we could give some relief to Canadian families, whether it was a sports tax credit, arts credit or credit for school books, helping with your TFSA so you can save more, and the Liberals took all of that away,” she said.
Instead the Liberals provided the per child monthly payment.
Infrastructure too was a disappointment for Bergen. Although the federal government does budget for infrastructure, Bergen said she’s talked to mayors in Portage-Lisgar who have not seen federal project funding since 2015, the last year the Conservatives were in power.
“We’ve seen practically nothing in the majority of our riding,” she said.
Bergen pointed to the Conservative approach of funding shovel ready projects to boost the economy in a time of economic downturn.
Bergen put the blame on Justin Trudeau. “This is a prime minister who came to the public with a lot of great promises and maybe good intentions,” she said. “He has failed completely with many of his promises.”
Bergen said Trudeau should have followed the lead of U.S. President Donald Trump and given tax cuts to businesses.
There were some highlights in the budget however. Bergen said she appreciates the new money for border security, in the effort to solve the issue of asylum seekers.
She also liked to see new money for the Canada Summer Jobs Program, but says the money might not get spent in the right places.
“Canada Summer Jobs is a program that really does achieve results,” she said. “It helps great organizations in each of our communities and it also helps young people who are looking for job experience.”
However, Bergen said the attestation that employers must sign to confirm their mission is in line with Canada’s laws on abortion will have an impact.
“Probably a lot of organizations across the country and certainly in the Portage-Lisgar area won’t be able to get that money because they don’t sign on to the Liberals ideological beliefs,” she said. “They give with one hand and take away with another.”
The budget also includes a commitment to pay-equity for women, but Bergen said their tax increases on passive income hurt female professionals as well. “He was also saying to women who were working on the family farm, that they have to now prove they’re actually working,” she said.
“I have zero patience or belief in Justin Trudeau’s so called feminism,” she added. “I’m not at all impressed by it.”