The 2018 Federal Budget Isn’t Making Life Better

“It was a dud that dropped with a thud.” That’s just one of many similar lines used to describe this year’s Federal Budget.

Budget 2018 could have been great! The current government has inherited a great fortune: the world economy is thriving, interest rates are low, the Canadian dollar is down, which facilitates trade, and entrepreneurs are creating jobs. A responsible government would take advantage of this opportunity to put money aside for when times get tough.

Instead, this government will keep spending, and incur an $18 billion deficit when there is absolutely no requirement to do so. When asked about the need for deficit spending, the Liberals responded by saying they need to invest in our infrastructure, but a close look at the budget reveals that infrastructure spending on domestic projects has been cut by $2.1 billion, while infrastructure spending on overseas projects has gone up by $35 billion. How will this help Canadians?

The fact is—it won’t.

Which is too bad, because the city and county of Lethbridge could benefit from new roads and bridges—or perhaps a couple new recreational facilities, like the ice rinks and wave pool on the westside that were made possible by funding from the previous government.

The Lethbridge region is growing and we need to put the necessary infrastructure in place to keep up with demand. I’m extremely disappointed the current government gives preference to large urban centres over rural communities and mid-sized cities.

Canadians expect their government to make life better for them; to develop policy that will create jobs, care for families, advocate for seniors, lower taxes and deliver services with excellence, while cutting back on wasteful spending.

Canadians are hard-working people with great potential that deserves to be realized. The government should do all that it can to facilitate prosperity.

This government has failed to deliver what matters most to Canadians. To use Andrew Scheer’s words, “never has a Prime Minister spent so much to achieve so little.”

In fact, with rising taxes, cancelled tax credits, and government-regulated changes to the housing market, Canadians are reporting that life is too expensive. According to an Ipsos-Reid poll released just after Christmas, nearly half of all Canadians are within $200 a month of not being able to cover the cost of their household bills.

At a time when the government should be focused on making life more affordable by getting out of the way, they’re focused on implementing more regulation and slamming Canadians with more taxes.

Lethbridge is privileged to be situated in southern Alberta where our economy remains strong and stable despite the downturn in the oil and gas industry. We have the Agricultural sector to thank for the stability we enjoy—a sector that supports 1 in 8 Canadian jobs.

I’m talking about the entrepreneurial women and men who work hard to put food on our tables and advance scientific research and innovation. When I reviewed the budget I was hoping the government would demonstrate at least a bit of gratitude for this key industry, but I found very little.

The Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association spoke out that they were “appalled that the 2018 Federal Budget contained nothing for agriculture.”

You’ll recall that in the fall, the Liberals tried to implement small business tax changes that were detrimental. Canadians stood up and spoke out and the Liberals backed off for a while, but in the budget they announced that income splitting between spouses who run a business will no longer be allowed, and passive investment income over $50,000 will result in increased taxes.

That said, I must give credit where credit is due. I applaud the government on re-instating the Conservative small business tax rate of 9%. The federal government must do everything it can to facilitate an economic environment where businesses want to stay, grow, and create jobs so that more local businesses don’t make the decision to re-plant themselves on the other side of the border.

In the Budget, the government also outlined its plan to pour several hundred million dollars into strengthening cyber and national security defences—an investment that is much needed given how our world is changing.

Notably, however, National Defence saw virtually no new spending and veterans were failed by this budget. According to Trudeau, veterans “are asking for more than we are able to give right now.” But the truth is, every government has to make choices to cut spending some places and increase spending in others. The Prime Minister simply has to have the will to allocate funds to the women and men who have faithfully served our country. The money is there if he cared enough.

All in all, the budget is a 367 page document composed of more aspirational statements and platitudes than tangible action steps, and many of the actions promised will make life more difficult, rather than better for Canadians.

What do you think—is life more affordable for you and your family? I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts. Send me a note at RachaelHarder.ca