(Ottawa) The decision of Liberal activists to set aside a resolution urging their party to adopt a proposal to return to balanced budgets in its next election platform demonstrates the “turn to the left, far to the left” of Justin’s troops Trudeau, believes the Conservative lieutenant for Quebec, Pierre Paul-Hus.
“Certainly with the alliance with the New Democrats, and then now with the way the money is spent without regard to the taxpayers, it’s clearly a very left turn on the part of the Liberal Party of Canada” said Pierre Poilievre’s Quebec lieutenant in an interview with La Presse Canadienne on the sidelines of the Liberal convention.
He considers “very worrying” the signal sent by the activists that “no, the balanced budget is not important, we continue like that”. This is nothing more than a break with “the Liberal Party way of the last 100 years.”
Its preamble argued that the federal debt rose from 30% of GDP in 2015-2016 – when the Liberals came to power – to almost 50% in 2021-2022, which “concerns many Canadians”.
He also mentions that the presence of a program to reduce the debt and return to balanced budgets will “undoubtedly have significant importance” in the minds of voters when choosing a party to govern the country.
On Friday, Prime Minister Trudeau showed his colors by refusing to commit to such a plan, despite deeming “fiscal responsibility” “essential”. He insisted to reporters that Canada has the lowest deficit in the G7, the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio in the G7 and is one of the three largest countries in the world with a rating of AAA credit.
After the vote, Liberals explained that activists want to offer “a little flexibility” to the government and that “budgetary discipline is part of the DNA of the Liberal Party”.
The Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, François-Philippe Champagne, also called for a distinction to be made between “expenditure and investment”, citing the new Volkswagen battery plant for which Ottawa has extended up to 13 billion subsidies, but which “will pay dividends over generations”.
The argument is far from convincing Mr. Paul-Hus. “In 2015, when Justin Trudeau got elected, played in that turf saying, ‘Look, I’m going to run a little $10 billion deficit the first year, the second year to invest massively in our infrastructure.’ You look at that, you say, “No, that might make sense.” But in the end, we saw an additional deficit of 100 billion in four years with little investment in infrastructure. »
And while he recognizes that the federal government had to come to the aid of the population during the pandemic, Mr. Paul-Hus believes that there has been a “loss of control” of public finances.
The budget document, however, announced that Ottawa would provide nearly $80 billion by 2034-35 to support the energy transition through five tax credits, a replica of Joe Biden’s US government plan. He also said that setting up a dental plan — a key commitment to the New Democratic Party (NDP) — would cost $13 billion over five years and $4.4 billion annually thereafter.
Former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien has been one of the headliners of the Liberal convention in recent days. The man who led the country from 1993 to 2003, having won three majority mandates, addressed the theme of public finances during a speech which earned him thunderous applause. “For 60 years, there have only been ten budget surpluses in Canadian finances and, Mr. Poilievre, it was always (under) Liberal governments,” he said.
Liberal delegates passed a total of 24 resolutions which thus became official party policy for the next eight years. Among them, forcing employers under federal jurisdiction to offer four weeks of paid leave upon hiring, and establishing a guaranteed basic income.