For Immediate Release:

Toronto, March 29, 2023: Following comments from Finance Minister Freeland that implied the federal Liberals were coming around to understanding that spending needed to be reined in post-pandemic, the government’s actions once again belie their words. The 2023-24 federal budget was another big-spending document that negated all previous budget plans regarding a declining deficit and a budget in balance in 5 years. “Minister Freeland has for years insisted that her principal ‘fiscal anchor’, the debt-to-GDP ratio, will continue to decline yet it once again increases in this budget”, said Catherine Swift, CCMBC President. “Although a small decline in debt/GDP is indeed forecast for next year, there is no reason to believe this will happen as this government never achieves any of the targets it sets for itself.”

Although the budget contained copious spending for “clean tech” via billions of dollars of tax credits for clean electricity and the $15 billion Canada Growth Fund, there is no reason to believe these subsidies will be any more successful than previous similar policies that have greatly increased costs for businesses and households while pouring tax dollars into unreliable and expensive energy technologies. Once again, there was virtually nothing in the budget to enhance the growth of the productive small- and medium-sized business sector which actually contributes to the government’s bottom line, and represents about half of the economy and the majority of new job creation.

The government claims that its many billions in clean tech spending will be directed by market forces, but the fact that the Canada Growth Fund spending will be overseen by the Public Sector Investment Board puts the lie to that”, said Swift. “Pensions plans make all kinds of subjective decisions as to where to invest, often based on non-financial criteria such as politically-favoured sectors, regions and businesses instead of maximizing financial viabilility”, she added.

The big-ticket dental care plan has already almost doubled in estimated cost from last year, and will undoubtedly increase more once it’s actually implemented. It is targeted at a much larger group than low-income Canadians, as those with up to $90,000 of income will be included. This will encourage businesses with dental plans to cancel them and put a larger financial load on the public purse. Swift noted that “It would be better to address the gaps in the current system gaps that are not that large - than create entire new expensive government bureaucracies that will ultimately disappoint Canadians just as our government monopoly health care system has.”

Bigger deficits, a larger debt, much higher debt service costs and no plan for eventual budget balance are the unfortunate hallmarks of this budget. There is also no consideration of the productive private business sector that provides the jobs and tax revenues that underpin government services. The first Trudeau government in the late 1960s to the early 1980s mismanaged the national finances to the extent that Canada faced a serious crisis in the mid- 1990s. The second Trudeau government is practicing exactly the same policies as the first, which will inevitably lead to another financial crisis for the country in the not-too-distant future.

The CCMBC was formed in 2016 with a mandate to advocate for proactive and innovative policies that are conducive to manufacturing and business retention and safeguarding job growth in Canada.

For further information or to arrange an interview, please call Catherine Swift at 416 816 7248.