Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland presented the 2023 Federal Budget on March 28. The Liberal budget was touted as a plan to help Canadians, but it will actually make life even more difficult for Canadians who are struggling with the cost of living.
Let me explain.
For the 2023-24 fiscal year, Canada’s national debt is projected to reach $1.22 trillion, that is nearly $81,000 of federal debt per household in Canada. Justin Trudeau has added more debt than all previous Prime Ministers combined. All the spending, borrowing, and debt has added to the fire of inflation which has raised the cost of everything including groceries, home heating, and housing.
In this budget, there is $43 billion dollars worth of new spending, that amounts to about $4,200 worth of new spending and debt per household. The Liberals argue that this new spending is necessary to support Canadians.
So, what have they come up with? A doubling of the GST rebate. They claim this will help people who are struggling with food inflation. Instead of solving the problem, the Liberals are going to give some Canadians a few dollars here and there, to help them pay for things that, because of their inflationary borrowing and spending, now cost thousands of dollars more. That’s not a real solution.
What I am most frustrated by is the stunning lack of action on the housing front. Housing is the number one issue that I hear about here in Parry Sound-Muskoka, and from people across Canada. Canadians can barely find a place to rent that fits their budget, never mind buying their first house. Those who own their home are worried about their mortgage payments that have doubled. Some are choosing between a roof over their head or healthy food on the table. Shelter nights increased by more than 600 per cent in the District of Muskoka from 2019 to 2022. That’s not acceptable.
So what did this latest budget do to address the housing crisis unfolding in Canada? Almost nothing, and what they did will only make the crisis worse. Canada has the lowest number of homes per capita in the G7. It takes years to build desperately needed housing units, made worse by supply chain challenges, inflation, and wasteful delays in municipal approvals. Canada needs over 5 million new housing units to restore affordability. We are facing a massive supply crunch.
So the government introduced a new “first time home buyer savings account”. This new account will let people who can afford to save $40,000 tax-free to buy their first home. Great, right? Except this program subsidizes demand, at a time when the supply of homes is at historic lows. That means there will be more money chasing after a few homes, making the price of them even more expensive. The Liberals don’t seem to understand supply and demand, and they certainly don’t accept that Canadians are facing a crisis in housing.
My Conservative colleagues and I had 3 key asks for the budget. The first was to make paychecks bigger with lower taxes and to scrap the carbon tax so it actually pays to work in Canada. Second, ending the deficits that have driven up inflation and interest rates. Third, build more homes by speeding up building approvals and permits and freeing up underused federal properties to be used for housing.
The Liberals failed to meet any of our key asks, instead choosing to double down on the path of big spending, higher taxes, and more debt. Conservatives know that we need change. 1 in 5 Canadians is skipping meals. The carbon tax will cost the average family between $402 and $847 in 2023. More of the same will not make life more affordable, so myself and the Conservative team will be voting against this budget.
I will continue to use your seat in Parliament to advocate for policies that will help those who are struggling with the cost of living, housing, and everyday essentials.
(Photo of Parliament Hill by festivio on Pixabay. Photo of Scott Aitchison courtesy of Scott Aitchison.)
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