As is tradition in the Trudeau government, the 2019 budget venerates the middle class and proudly declares Canada’s economic success relative to other G7 nations. While the budget is usually presented around this time of year, the newest budget operates under the assumption that the Liberals will remain in power after the next election.
There are multiple programs that would be financed over multiple years. One commitment was a five year investment that would help the development and implementation of charging stations for electric vehicles. Other programs include a $1.7 billion commitment over a five year period to a Canadian job training program that would help facilitate workers to upgrade their skills while currently employed.
The budget will come into effect on April 1, and even if the Liberals do not reelected, it would take time for a new party to implement their budget or renege on programs put in place by the Liberals.
Of course, a prospective and presumptuous budget is not rare, governments need to table a budget in election years. There are certain aspects of the budget that could even give incentive to some groups to vote Liberal because of what they have tabled. However, what is glaringly obvious is the Liberals have no intention at the current time to curb spending in order to balance the budget like they promised in 2015 on the campaign trail. The deficit predicted by the budget is $19.8 billion.
“We want to continue to reduce our deficit as a function of our economy,” Finance Minister Bill Morneau said during a press conference.
When Morneau first announced the budget he was jeered at by the Conservative party, not for what was in the budget, but in solidarity with Jody Wilson-Raybould, the Liberal Member of Parliament that has been at the centre of the SNC-Lavalin scandal. While the Conservatives were protesting her alleged muzzling by shouting, “Let her speak,” before walking out, others have pointed out oddities in the budget.
One such point of contention is the vow to assist struggling newspapers across Canada. Partisan detractors of the policy considered it to be a propagandistic endowment in order to win favour during an election year.
“He’s [Trudeau] forcing Canadian taxpayers to dole out $600 million in order to try and buy the media’s support as he goes to the polls,” Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre commented back in November.
“What they’re basically doing is subsidizing the jobs some reporters up to $13,000 in tax credit per person that work for newspapers,” journalism professor Chris Waddell said. “What they could do is say ‘we’re going to subsidize jobs that specifically allow a newspaper to make the transition to being digital only’ as opposed to being a print product.”
The Liberals have made it clear that the tax credits would not affect news organisations until after the election period.