Politicians have made promises that will cost tens of billions of dollars during this election. But when it comes time to open their wallets to pay the tab, these party leaders are running to hide in the bathroom while taxpayers cover the bill.
Politicians and taxpayers both need to understand a simple truth: there is no free lunch. Someone always pays, and that someone is the average working Canadian.
Canada needs to elect a government that will rein in spending, balance the budget within a reasonable timeframe and reduce taxes.
But each of Canada’s three major parties has indicated that Canadians won’t get the responsible fiscal stewardship that the country desperately needs.
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The incumbents are promising more of the same.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals are seasoned experts when it comes to promising the sun and the moon and claiming that they can do it all without mortgaging our children’s future.
They’ve introduced billions of dollars of new spending without a plan for how to pay for it, and they’re taking that same approach in this election.
Ten dollar-a-day daycare? No problem.
Billion-dollar boondoggles targeting legal gun owners? Count us in.
Throw another half a billion dollars at the CBC? Yes, please.
The Liberal platform is counting on $25 billion in new revenue while it promises $78 billion in new spending. That’s baked-in borrowing.
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland is already planning to run a deficit this year of $154 billion.
And as a cherry on top, much of this hypothetical new revenue is wishful thinking. Almost half of the new revenue the Trudeau Liberals have identified relies on the Canada Revenue Agency finding new revenue.
That’s about as likely as a fisherman catching a whale.
The Liberals are also planning to increase taxes on Canada’s largest banks and insurers, who will find creative ways to avoid sending more money to Ottawa, or they’ll just stick their customers with higher fees.
How about the opposition?
Conservative leader Erin O’Toole has criticized Trudeau for his poor economic management, but O’Toole has a laundry list of unpaid promises of his own.
O’Toole has pledged to introduce $52.5 billion in new spending over the next five years. That’s new spending on top of Trudeau’s.
How does the Conservative leader plan to pay for it?
Deficits, my friends, deficits.
Freeland’s budget predicted a $154 billion deficit for 2021-22. O’Toole says he would increase that deficit by $14 billion.
O’Toole claims to be the adult in the room, but he won’t commit to balancing the budget for another decade, and he would rely on rosy economic forecasts to get there.
Finally, there’s the NDP.
Perhaps Jagmeet Singh deserves some credit for at least admitting that he plans to hike taxes to help pay for some of his promises. But the reality is that Singh’s new taxes won’t even come close to covering them.
The NDP is promising $214 billion in new spending over the next five years and $166 billion in new revenue.
That still leaves a $48 billion gap.
Singh’s new tax proposals would also weaken economic growth and are unlikely to generate nearly as much money as the NDP hopes. The Parliamentary Budget Officer has said as much.
Canadian taxpayers are presented with bad choices during this election as none of the major parties offers a plan to get back to sane spending and balanced budgets.
If a major party wants to truly fight for taxpayers, it needs to go back to the drawing board and present a realistic plan to get the nation’s finances in order.
Jay Goldberg is Interim Ontario Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
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