Blaine Calkins
Member of Parliament for Red Deer - Lacombe

2020-07-08 (July)

Economic "Snapshot" Contains No Plan to Restart our Economy

Today the Liberal government unveiled an Economic ‘Snapshot’ for Canada. It is clear that under Justin Trudeau Canada is falling behind. We have the highest unemployment in the G7 at 13.7% - even higher in Alberta at 15.5%. We are the only G7 country to lose its AAA credit rating. We are the only G7 country without a recovery plan and today’s Economic ‘Snapshot’ did nothing to outline how the Liberal government plans to help get workers and our country back on track. While this is extremely concerning, it isn’t a surprise coming from the Prime Minister who has a track record of sky-high taxes, wasteful spending and massive deficits which added $87 billion in debt prior to the pandemic. Even our debt-to-GDP ratio, which indicates the economy’s ability to pay off debt and the Liberal government has used to justify their reckless spending pre-pandemic, increased 18 points to 49.1%.

For 2020 spending has increased by $236.9 billion, with another $71.1 billion in revenue loss. In 2020/2021 the total national debt is anticipated to reach $1.2 trillion, a fact that the Finance Minister couldn’t even bring himself to admit in his speech. The total deficit has exploded to $343.2 billion, while still leaving behind so many small businesses and vital sectors like agriculture and oil and gas. For context, the last time that Canada had a balanced budget, put forward by our Conservative government in 2015, we proposed $288.9 billion in total spending. Supporting Canadians was vital at the outbreak of the pandemic; however, this Liberal government was either too slow or blatantly wrong on dozens of important decisions such as closing our borders, enhancing airport screenings and supports for small businesses. As we enter the recovery phase, it is clear that the Liberal government has no plan to restart our economy, and instead aim to keep it on life support.

Today’s ‘snapshot’ was a wasted opportunity where the Finance Minister should have announced new measures to help get Canadians back to work – sadly no such measures were included. Since the pandemic began, Conservatives have been putting forward constructive solutions to help Canadians including thoughtful changes to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit that would remove barriers for Canadians to return to work when they are able. Our goal has been, and continues to be, to help workers and local businesses get back on their feet as quickly as possible. We know that our economic recovery will be driven by Canadians’ hard work, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. Government doesn’t create jobs or wealth, only people can do that. All that government can do is create the environment for Canadians to succeed. It is time to unleash the power of the private sector with lower taxes and less red tape to make sure that Canada is an attractive place to do business once again. Conservatives will continue to fight to get the Canadians the help they need, and we will continue to call on the Trudeau government to put forward a transparent plan to guide Canada’s recovery. Canadians deserve no less.
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Blaine Calkins - Member of Parliament for Red Deer - Lacombe