Blaine Calkins
Member of Parliament for Red Deer - Lacombe

2017-04 (April)

Budget 2017 is a Disaster 

Liberal Finance Minister Bill Morneau tabled the Trudeau Government’s second budget, which confirmed they have no plan for the economy, job creation, or respect for taxpayer dollars.  For the second year in a row they failed to keep their promise to only run a $10 billion deficit.  In fact they have reneged on their promise to balance the budget by 2019.  An internal document from Finance Canada now says the budget will not be balanced until 2055. Terrible news, considering the Liberals were handed a balanced budget.

Trudeau is strapping future generations of Canadians with the responsibility of paying back massive debts with his reckless spending. 

Furthermore, Budget 2017 is making life more expensive for Canadians, small businesses, and it does nothing to support our bedrock industries like the energy sector or our agriculture sector.

Trudeau has hit the energy sector hard by removing incentives for small oil companies to engage in energy exploration.  It isn’t surprising given that he’s said he wanted to phase out the oil and gas sector. Middle class Canadian families working in this industry rely on these well-paying jobs to put food on their table. They need a Prime Minister to champion their industry, not destroy it.

At a time when our largest competitor is removing barriers, reducing taxes and red tape it is irresponsible for Prime Minister Trudeau to handicap the oil and gas sector this way.

Budget 2017 also abandons Canadian farmers.  This budget scraps the income tax exemption for insurers of farming and fishing property.  This move could see our farmers and fishermen facing higher insurance premiums.

Furthermore, the Liberals have signaled they plan to eliminate the income tax deferral for grain producers and Western Canadian farmers are once again under attack. This is in stark contrast to the previous Conservative Government which supported the agriculture sector by passing the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers
Act, commercialized the Canadian Wheat Board, provided the hog industry with $370 million to support debt restructuring, provided $50 million to support increased slaughter capacity and expanded the Tax Deferral for livestock to include bees and all horses.  The Liberal government has failed to expand or continue any of these initiatives.

Budget 2017 also fails to deliver on infrastructure investment. Since coming to office 94% of the infrastructure projects announced by the Liberals have failed to start construction. These delays hurt our communities and they hurt our economy and job creation. We have now learned the Liberal Government is imposing an arbitrary deadline of April 1, 2018 on provinces to spend the more than $6 billion dollars allocated to them from the previous government’s New Building Canada Fund. 

Justin Trudeau has no problem spending Canadians hard earned tax dollars on nannies, family vacations to billionaires’ islands, or his vanity projects. Municipalities rely on these funds that have been allocated to them to build and upgrade critical infrastructure. By accelerating the project approval process to meet this arbitrary deadline will potentially result in a lack of proper oversight and transparency.  The last time a
Liberal government rushed a program and accelerated the approval process Canadians ended up with the Sponsorship Scandal.  

Budget 2017 also will see the cancellation of the Public Transit Tax Credit and a decrease in the federal share of funding for public transit projects by 40%. The Public Transit Tax credit was ushered in by
our previous Conservative Government to incent Canadians to use public transportation. Removing this tax credit, simply, will make life more expensive for middle class Canadians. Municipalities need good infrastructure, but they also need programs that are easy to access, provide predictable funding and do
not leave small and rural communities behind. By allocating public transit funding based on ridership it will place growing communities in the riding of Red Deer-Lacombe at a disadvantage, while favoring larger urban cities with established transit systems.

Justin Trudeau and the Liberals have a severe distaste for rural Canada and it shines bright in the pages of this budget.

The Liberals are spending recklessly on pet projects all over the globe but in Budget 2017 they turned their backs on our men and women in uniform. Justin Trudeau cut $8.48 billion dollars from the Department
of National Defense budget, which coupled that with last year’s cuts, DND is now facing a $12 billion dollar shortfall. National Defense is clearly not a priority for these Liberals.  At a time when our allies are committed to  increased spending and modernization of military capabilities, Justin Trudeau's naiveté is putting Canada and our military in a precarious position with these cuts.

The last Liberal Budget failed to grow the economy and it failed to create jobs.  Canada's GDP is declining, and our debt is growing. The budget also failed to deliver to communities the promised infrastructure programs they need. 

Budget 2017 has, however, increased your taxes! Ride sharing services like Uber will be taxed, increased taxes on beer and wine, and removing tax credits for public transit and for families with children. Justin Trudeau sold Canadians a bill of goods he had no plans to deliver on.  My job as a member of the Official Opposition is to hold him and his party accountable for their misguided policies and misuse of public money. I encourage you to like my Facebook page for timely updates as my colleagues and I do so.


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Blaine Calkins - Member of Parliament for Red Deer - Lacombe