The federal government tabled a budget for the first time in two years and they unveiled $101.4 billion in new spending. Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland presented the budget called, “A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth, and Resilience.”
The aim is to guide and implement a path out of the COVID-19 pandemic and stimulate the economy post-pandemic but what does it mean to the average Canadian?
In a nutshell:
- Over the next five years, $30 billion and another 8.3 billion ongoing, for early learning and child care which would mean a 50 percent drop in fees for preschool daycare spaces and an average cost of $10 per day by 2026
- $3 billion to improve long-term care and providing a safe and improved quality of life for seniors
- $2.2 billion for bio-manufacturing and life-sciences with a focus on vaccine development
- Over six years, $1 billion towards the Universal Broadband Fund
- $17.6 billion for green and clean initiatives for the environment
- $18 billion for the socio-economic program to narrow the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people which includes infrastructure in Indigenous communities and also $2.2 billion to help end the tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls
- $595 million for a recovery program to help employers rehire laid-off employees or new ones
- A pledge of $1.5 billion for tourism and travel sectors
There are a lot of lofty goals with even loftier spending and many are questioning where the money will come from. A sentiment that is echoed by Banff-Airdrie MP, Blake Richards who says, “I think I heard it said best when I heard someone say, it’s a budget about everything except for how to pay for it all. And that’s really what it boils down to, there is a lot of money being spent here. And I don’t know that I’m a believer that just being able to say that we spent a lot of money is achieving results.”
Richards says he didn’t see anything that speaks to all the people that have been laid off or have had their wages cut.
Richards also cited the example, which is relevant to our area, in the budget that says it will help the tourism industry with a billion dollars. He says, “I’m hearing from a lot of folks in the tourism industry over the last couple of days who are telling me that they don’t see anything in the budget that’s going to help them. They feel like what they needed to see, was some kind of a plan so that they would know when and how they are going to be able to welcome visitors again so they can get their businesses running again and there is nothing about that in there.”
As for the $10 a day daycare program, Richards explains it is not so cut and dry. It will mean negotiation with the provinces to cost-share some kind of future childcare program. Richards says, “It’s another example of the Liberal government that believes that bureaucrats know better than people how to run their lives.” The conservatives believe it is a cookie-cutter fix for an issue that is very diverse. There is more than one type of childcare. The budget only allows for one type of childcare. Richards adds, “Not to mention the fact that this is now I think the ninth time that the liberals have promised this type of a plan and I would hope for most people after they have been promised something nine times that they’re going to start realizing that it is all talk and that’s about it."
The question remains, where does the money come from if not from the pockets of taxpayers of today and for many years to come.
There is a pretty good chance that is a dilemma that would be applicable to any party in power.
The hope will lie with a booming economy post-pandemic, like the one seen in the 1920s.
First, the goal is to get through the pandemic.