Federal budget gets it mostly wrong according to critics


Ken Waddell
Neepawa Banner & Press

The federal government tabled their budget on Tuesday emphasizing they intend to close the gender gap in pay scales and encourage more fathers to take paternity leave. Critics were quick to point out that while these may be laudable goals, the country is in need of many other economic initiatives. The province of Manitoba PC government lead by Premier Brian Pallister held a news conference Tuesday afternoon. Pallister said, “This is a mid-term budget. There is nothing to help with health care. There is some money there to help with addictions but it would also have been a good time to give some tax relief.” Finance Minister Cameron Friesen said, “The economy is growing and federal spending is growing but in face of what is happening in the United States with their tax cuts, the federal government should have provided some tax relief.”

Both men were very disappointed there was no mention of help for the Port of Churchill. Friesen noted that the federal government had backed away from some of the more damaging proposals of last year that would harm small businesses.

Dauphin-Swan River-Neepawa MP Robert Sopuck said, “This is a typical Liberal tax and spend budget that adds $118 billion to the debt.” Sopuck is very worried about what the proposed new regulatory processes will do to major projects. “Suncor is not investing in Canada any more and there was nothing in this budget for rural Canada or for agriculture.”

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) says the 2018 federal budget may be somewhat less harmful than originally expected, but will not improve the overall health or competitiveness of the nation’s entrepreneurs. CFIB President Dan Kelly said, “The tax changes for small business remain a billion-dollar take-away from entrepreneurs at a time when entrepreneurs in the US are seeing their tax bills drop considerably. With uncertainty over NAFTA, Canada needs to focus on improving our tax competitiveness – instead we’re making it worse.”

Companies facing new costs

“It is important to keep in mind that Canada’s SMEs are facing massive new cost pressures in the coming years, including five years of CPP/QPP hikes, five years of carbon tax/pricing increases, and higher minimum wages in several provinces,” Kelly said. “On top of that, entrepreneurs know that today’s deficits are tomorrow’s taxes. The lack of a plan to get Canada out of deficit spending is deeply troubling,” added Kelly.

News Media Canada, the organization that represents Canadian newspapers said, “The federal government will be providing $50 million over five years starting in 2018-2019 to one or more independent non-governmental organizations to support local journalism in under-serviced communities. The organizations will have full responsibility to administer the funds, respecting the independence of the press. There is no indication of who that organization or organizations will be.

The second item is that the federal government will, over the next year, be exploring new models that will enable private giving and philanthropic support for trusted, professional, non-profit journalism and local news. According to the budget document: “this could include new ways for Canadian newspapers to innovate and be recognized to receive charitable status for not-for-profit provision of journalism, reflecting the public interest that they serve.

Editor’s note: So the feds want to close the gender pay gap which is a good thing but don’t want to give any tax relief. They want to cut off resource development with a long drawn out approval processes and yet not help rural Canada. They want to increase the deficit and make newspapers into government subsidized charities. It is indeed an interesting way to run a country.