Promises made to Pontiac farmers should be honoured


As reported by CBC, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is apparently wavering on trade deal compensation promised to farmers by the previous administration.

A high-profile example of this compensation is $4.3 billion that was promised to dairy farmers as part of the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement, in exchange for an opening of 3.25% of the Canadian dairy market.

Money was also expected to flow right away as part of a Processor Modernization Program. A seven-year program was to provide Canada’s dairy, poultry and egg processors with support to increase competitiveness through capital investments and technical and management capacity.

Trudeau’s Liberals have signed the Trans Pacific Partnership deal, and appear poised to ratify it, based on recent comments from the Prime Minister.

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Justin Trudeau appears poised to ratify the TPP

However, missing from Budget 2016 was any mention of the promised compensation or process modernization funds for this deal. As far back as November 2015, immediately following the federal election, the Liberals stated that compensation for the TPP “was not a done deal”  and the Government now appears to be muddying the waters even further.

Across the country, the amount of farmers can vary significantly from riding to riding, with the largest concentration of farmers (unsurprisingly) located in rural constituencies. Any changes to the TPP compensation agreement (or any trade deal) promised to farmers is going to negatively impact rural areas moreso than their urban cousins, raising questions as to the Liberal commitment to rural Canada.

Ridings such as Pontiac, Qc that feature a notable presence of farmers, will ultimately suffer greater losses through this decision.

One can debate the pros and cons of supply management.  However, local elected representatives are supposed to represent their constituencies above all else, and it is in the best interest on Pontiac for farmers to receive the compensation they were promised as a part of any trade deal. I sincerely hope that public pressure convinces the Liberals to do the right thing for Pontiac.

Why Liberal MPs don’t deserve the raise they just gave themselves


They’re not even 6 months on the job yet, but the Trudeau Liberals are so impressed with themselves that a salary increase is in order.

The Liberal-dominated Board of Internal Economy (BOIE) has seen fit to provide all 338 Members of Parliament (along with 105 Senators) with a raise, bringing up the basic MP salary to $170,400 and the basic Senator salary to $145,400. Along with raises, office budgets for MPs were also increased substantially.

Previously, in the aftermath of the global economic crisis of 2007-2008, the then Conservative government legislated a freeze on parliamentarian salaries that continued for several years, in a gesture that was positively received by Canadians at large.

The Liberal raise was given despite the struggles of the resource sector, and despite a massive 30 billion deficit for this year – a Liberal deficit that is projected to continue indefinitely, adding more than 110 billion dollars of debt to Canada over 5 years.

There are serious questions about the priorities of this government when funds are readily available for MPs and Senator salaries (and almost anything else outside of defence), yet there isn’t money to live up to promises made to job creators or to continue supporting families.

The Liberals are keeping the small businesses tax rate at 10.5% instead of lowering it to the scheduled 9% – a scheduled policy that had near unanimous support from all political parties. The Liberals are also ending the small business hiring credit. These items entail that one of the largest group of employers in Canada is going to have less money to generate growth. However, Parliamentarians are still receiving raises.

The Liberals are ending the Children`s Fitness Tax Credit; the Children`s Art Tax Credit and also eliminated are tax credits for post-secondary education & textbooks. Income splitting for parents is also gone. However, Parliamentarians are still receiving raises.

A myriad of spending items were outlined in the Liberal’s inaugural Budget, causing the Government to break a key election promise to limit deficits to 10 billion dollars a year. Current deficits are so large that a freeze on parliamentarian salaries and office budgets would only amount to a drop in the bucket in terms of savings for the fiscal framework.  However, drops add up, and it would be a welcome gesture for the government to actually show solidarity with struggling Canadians they are supposed to represent. However, Parliamentarians are still receiving raises.

Parliamentarians earn salaries that far exceed those of the average Canadian. Being an MP (or a Senator) is a difficult job, fraught with uncertainty, and a high salary for the position is justifiable.  However, it sends an extremely poor message to Canadians when political leaders pay themselves before ensuring that the sustainability of our country is properly attended to . An indefinite freeze on MP/Senator salaries and office budgets should be in order until the books are balanced and our indefinite deficit is eliminated.  However, so long as the Liberals hold Government, it appears that Parliamentarians will still be receiving raises.



Experts weigh in on Liberal Budget

A Conservative MP has published a compilation of quotes regarding the inaugural Liberal Budget.  Ed Fast is MP for Abbotsford, former Minister of International Trade, and critic for Environment and Climate Change. Follow him on Twitter via @HonEdFast 

List is below.

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Via MP Ed Fast’s Facebook page

“For those of you who are interested in the general reaction to the 2016 Budget released on Tuesday, below you will find dozens upon dozens of Canadian stakeholders, experts and journalists who have panned the Budget.”

Jack Mintz, National Post:
Canada’s debt bomb has just gotten a lot bigger, with Tuesday’s budget projecting a deficit of $29.4 billion in 2016-17 and lowering the eligibility for old age security from 67 years of age to 65 again. Once we add on other big-ticket liabilities that we have failed to sock away money to pay for – particularly health care, long-term care and other age-related expenditures – Canada is nearly exploding in debt. (, March 22, 2016)

David Reevely, Ottawa Citzen:
“Canada under Justin Trudeau is going to look a lot like Ontario under Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne.” (, March 22, 2016;…/reevely-trudeau-takes-ontario-li…)

Canadian Federation of Independent Business
“In its platform, in a written letter to CFIB members, and in campaign stops across the country, the new government promised to reduce the small business corporate tax rate to nine per cent by 2019. That promise was broken today as it announced the rate will remain at 10.5 per cent after 2016,” said Dan Kelly, CFIB president. This decision will cost small firms over $900 million more per year as of 2019.

Canadian Press:
“Losers: Small businesses. The government will not proceed with reductions in the small business tax rate promised in the last Conservative budget. They would have dropped the rate from 11 per cent to nine per cent on the first $500,000 of qualifying income as of Jan. 1, 2019. Instead, the rate will fall to 10.5 per cent, and future cuts are being deferred.
Losers: National Defence. Billions in planned equipment spending is pushed off past the next election.
Losers: Tax breaks. The budget undoes some of the former Conservative government’s targeted tax breaks, including tax credits for tuition and textbooks and children’s fitness and arts costs and income-splitting for families with children.” (March 22, 2016;…/winners-losers-emerge-first-…)

Mary Webb, senior economist at Scotiabank
Over the last three years, federal spending was held to an average 0.4 per cent increase per year, said Mary Webb, senior economist at Scotiabank. The next three years show average increases of 6.3 per cent. “How do you close this gap here?” Webb wondered, short of tax increases or sharp cuts down the road. (Canadian Press, March 22, 2016)

Dan Kelly, CFIB:
“Brutal ‪#‎Budget2016‬ for small biz. Election promises to cut small biz rate & Youth Hiring Credit broken.” (, March 22, 2016;

Canadian Federation of Independent Business
“Small business owners across the country are deeply troubled by the ballooning deficit. What was proposed to Canadians as a short-term $10-billion deficit plan to invest in critical infrastructure is now $29 billion with no plan to get back to balance,” Kelly said. Most of the deficit is to cover a massive 7.6 per cent increase in program spending, which will do next to nothing to grow the economy. “Small business owners know that today’s deficits are tomorrow’s taxes,” added Kelly.

Rob Roach, ATB Financial:
“The federal deficit for 2016/17 translates into roughly $840 for every Canadian – ouch. #Budget2016” (, March 22, 2016;

Canadian Federation of Independent Business
It appears the government has broken a promise to introduce an Employment Insurance holiday for employers hiring youth between ages 18 and 24 in 2016, 2017 and 2018. “CFIB applauded the Liberals when they announced this measure, and we are deeply disappointed that they have abandoned this commitment,” Kelly said.

Lindsay Tedds, University of Victoria:
“So @CanRevAgency seems to be getting more money for business as usual and nothing seemingly innovative or game changing #budget2016” (, March 22, 2016;

Andrew Coyne:
“This is a budget from the 1970s to address the problems of the 1980s.” (CBC News Network, March 22, 2016)

Dan Kelly, CFIB:
“Most of the $29.4 B deficit in #Budget2016 has nothing to do w infrastructure. It covers a massive 7.6% increase in program spending.” (, March 22, 2016;

Paul Wells, Macleans:
“Never mind the $29.4-billion deficit Bill Morneau predicts for this year; what’s daunting is the $17.8-billion deficit he projects for 2019-20, the next election year. No wonder the word “deficit” does not appear at any point in Morneau’s budget speech. It’s hard to know how to say some things.” (, March 22, 2016;…/ottawa/sunny-ways-half-measures/)

David Perry, Canadian Global Affairs Institute:
“I think if I was National Defence, I would hope you’d already have the money in the bank, instead of having to rely on a promise of some year, some time in the future they’ll be able to acquire this stuff.” (Canadian Press, March 22, 2016;…/military-equipment-pur…/…)

John Ivison, National Post:
“What we are seeing is the creation of a long-term structural deficit, not temporary cyclical investments.” (, March 22, 2016)

John Geddes, Macleans:
“If Canadians who voted Liberal last fall expected to feel more prosperous fast, they are liable to be disappointed.” (, March 22, 2016;…/is-trudeaus-honeymoon-over-the-bu…/)

Paul Wells, Macleans:
“I believe this budget paves the way for an eventual GST increase.” (, March 22, 2016;…/ottawa/sunny-ways-half-measures/)

John Ivison, National Post:
“But overall this budget is a broken pipeline of federal tax dollars, gushing money to numerous pet Liberal causes.” (, March 22, 2016)

Campbell Clark, Globe and Mail:
“The first pages of the Liberals’ first federal budget are about hope and the “promise of progress.” The next 20 are pretty grim.” (, March 22, 2016)

Dan Kelly, CFIB:
“The Liberal government has frozen the small business tax rate, despite an election promise to reduce it over the next three years. In the budget Tuesday, Finance Minister Bill Morneau indicated the tax rate on businesses earning less than $500,000 a year will remain at 10.5 per cent. That’s still lower than the 11-per-cent general corporate rate but Ottawa will cancel a legislated reduction to 9 per cent, adopted by the former Conservative government. “It’s a big fat broken promise,” said Dan Kelly, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses. “It’s quite shocking this happened; I had no sense it was at risk.” (, March 22, 2016)

Tim Harper, Toronto Star:
“Welcome to the era of deficits and dreams. Some of the dreams are deferred, but the deficits seem cast in stone.” (, March 22, 2016;…/the-liberals-have-a-lot-of-politic…)

Halifax Chamber of Commerce:
“Bad: no tax relief for small biz beyond new rate at 10.5%, not what Canadians were promised; 80% of our members small businesses #Budget2016” (, March 22, 2016;

Halifax Chamber of Commerce:
“And the ugly: running chronic deficits with no plan to balance the budget has proven to be bad news for Canada’s economy #Budget2016” (, March 22, 2016;

Ottawa Citizen Editorial:
“It is also, perhaps, what comes of being prepared to run a deficit of almost $30 billion: You believe that government is so wise it can not only kick-start the economy, but also micromanage it. The Liberals, committed as they are to greenhouse gas reductions, are picking “winners” rather than simply providing broad incentives for change to industry and consumers (such as cap-and-trade regimes or carbon taxes). We doubt the wisdom of their approach, particularly in light of the overall numbers. After all, the budget projects a shortfall for the coming fiscal year at $29.4 billion. (The fact that the finance minister telegraphed it weeks ago doesn’t make it any smaller.) The year after, the deficit will be another $29 billion. Things improve only slowly, even though Finance Minister Bill Morneau assured Canadians on Tuesday that “The government remains committed to returning to balanced budgets, and will do so in a responsible, realistic and transparent way.” (, March 22, 2016)

Kevin Page, former Parliamentary Budget Officer
Beyond the missing definitions and plans, there is also no roadmap to get back to balance. It is never a good idea to give governments an unlimited long leash to run deficits. Without fiscal rules or targets on spending or debt, there is little to hold them back. Furthermore, presenting a fiscal plan with lots of new ongoing spending makes these deficits look more structural (i.e. lasting) than cyclical (i.e. short-lived) over the medium term. This raises concerns that the new, higher federal deficits will create sustainability issues, reflected in rising debt-to-GDP over the long term, as Canada undergoes an aging demographic adjustment over the next two decades.
Budgets are fiscal plans. A fiscal plan without a strategy to get back to balance and without sustainability analysis is not responsible or prudent. In this budget, we are deficit-financing tax cuts, spending increases for families, First Nations and veterans. We are passing higher debt onto future generations. Persistent deficits over the medium term highlight the need for tax increases. Stay tuned. (…/the-big-short-big-policy-initiatives…/)

Jean-Francois Perrault, Scotiabank:
Experts, however, were skeptical that Ottawa’s plan to stimulate the economy will have the desired effect. “It looks like a bit of a stretch,” said Jean-Francois Perrault, Scotiabank’s chief economist and a former senior Finance Department official under Morneau. (Canadian Press, March 22, 2016;…/expert…/11802068/story.html)

Craig Alexander, C.D. Howe Institute:
Craig Alexander of the C.D. Howe Institute think tank, said he believes the government investments in areas like infrastructure will help the economy — but probably not as much as Ottawa expects. He expects the investments to only boost real GDP growth over the next two years by about 0.2 or 0.3 per cent. “The real problem is the fact that the government doesn’t have the money to pay for all the new initiatives, so they’re actually projecting a significant deficit and a deficit that’s going to persist through their entire term in office,” said Alexander. (Canadian Press, March 22, 2016;…/expert…/11802068/story.html)

Alexandre Laurin , Director of Research, C.D. Howe Institute
If interest rates rise substantially, debt charges would escalate rapidly, making the debt situation worse. We’ve seen this story before in the mid-1990s, when out-of-control deficits and an impending sovereign debt crisis led to painful spending cuts and tax increases. The government is wrong to make the return to budget balance conditional on strong economic growth. Population aging is already taking its toll on long-term projections, and too many unforeseen events can derail the fiscal path. Only tight fiscal discipline can balance the budget within a reasonable timeframe, protecting Canadians’ standards of living from future large tax increases and cuts to government services. (…/budget-2016_b_9525366.html)

Alan Freeman, iPolitics:
But as a document meant to set out a clear roadmap for the federal government’s spending plans over the next five years — and the country’s future economic prospects — it gets a failing grade. (, March 22, 2016;…/the-budgets-politically-bulletproof-…/)

Jason Kirby, Macleans:
The move toward a government-led economy was evident in Morneau’s speech in another interesting way. The word “government” warranted nearly 40 mentions in the 13-page speech, compared to just six mentions of “business”—an almost complete reversal from former finance minister Joe Oliver’s final budget speech. (, March 22, 2016;…/welcome-back-to-the-age-of-big-go…/)

Jason Kirby, Macleans:
In fact, the only area where the Liberals are reeling in the size of government is in the realm of defence. The budget revealed the government is pushing back spending on new defence hardware to save themselves a whopping $1.32 billion in savings in 2017-18. (, March 22, 2016;…/welcome-back-to-the-age-of-big-go…/)

Fraser Institute:
The consequence of this fiscal plan will be heightened uncertainty for entrepreneurs, investors and businesses. Sustained government borrowing increases the risk of tax hikes in the future, dampening the viability of current investment while endangering our future prosperity. Under these conditions, business and entrepreneurs will increasingly stay on the sideline or decide to invest in other jurisdictions with more predictable business environments. (Fraser Institute, March 22, 2016;…/budget-2016-liberals-high…)

Fraser Institute:
In advance of the budget, the Liberals were right to emphasize the need for policies that promote long-term economic growth. Unfortunately, today’s budget shows a clear gap between the policies they are pursuing and their rhetoric about fostering long-term economic growth. (Fraser Institute, March 22, 2016;…/budget-2016-liberals-high…)

Aaron Gunn, Canadian Taxpayers Federation
There can be no equivocation. Trudeau’s first budget is an absolute disaster for future generations & thus for Canada. ‪#‎cdnpoli‬ #Budget2016 (Twitter,

Kevin Libin, National Post:
“But at this rate of deficit and debt accumulation, it can only be a matter of time before the Liberals tax and spend all of us, the rich and middle class inclusively, into equal levels of misery.” (Financial Post, March 23, 2016)

Mike Bradshaw, NWT Chamber of Commerce:
“Our biggest concern is who the hell’s going to pay the bill? $29 billion [deficit] this year, and $100 billion [deficit] over the term of this government’s office. That’s a lot. In this day and age when we’re all belt-tightening, I think we could have taken a sharper focus on where to put our investments in order to improve the economy for the long term, not just for today or tomorrow.” (, March 23, 2016)

Sahir Khan, ex-PBO:
Truth be told, says Sahir Khan, a budget specialist formerly with the watchdog Parliamentary Budget Office, the government is not giving money to people based on the economic quintile they occupy. The Liberals are giving money to people who vote for the Liberals. (, March 23, 2016;…/budget-middle-class-neil-macdonald-1.35…)

Winnipeg Free Press Editorial:
Most notably, this budget means repeat, sizable deficits, a real turn in the road for Canada. (Winnipeg Free Press, March 23, 2016)

Doug Porter, BMO:
“Red is the new black,” quipped Doug Porter, BMO Capital Markets chief economist. (Toronto Sun, March 23, 2016)

Ottawa Sun editorial
But after looking at the numbers, we think they should have named it “A Bad Day for Taxpayers”. Indeed, “a nightmare scenario for taxpayers,” as Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose said Tuesday following the budget’s release. We’ll second that. During last year’s election, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he’d grow the economy “from the heart outwards”. (Ottawa Sun, March 23, 2016)

David Perry, Canadian Global Affairs Institute:
“This budget reminds me of that episode of Oprah where everybody in the audience got a car,” said David Perry, senior analyst with the Canadian Global Affairs Institute. “Everyone got a car here except the Department of Defence and the money it was supposed to get to buy a car has been shifted out to 2020 and beyond.” (Globe and Mail, March 23, 2016)

Calgary Herald Editorial
It was one thing to argue during the election that there is a need to stimulate the economy; it’s quite another thing to brush common sense aside and disregard the fact this money will have to be paid back by tomorrow’s taxpayers – “our children’s children,” in the words of the spendthrift finance minister. (Calgary Herald, March 23, 2016)

John Ibbitson, Globe and Mail:
“Bill Morneau’s polarizing first budget launches the federal government on a bold new social-engineering experiment financed by deficits that stretch beyond the far horizon.” (Globe and Mail, March 23, 2016)

Lorne Gunter
So, in effect, the Trudeau government is paying for most of the goodies it is doling out to the middle class, not with taxes on the One Percent (there simply aren’t enough “rich” in Canada to cover Liberal largesse), but with borrowed money. And that borrowed money is going to have to be paid back in the future with taxes on the middle class – or more likely the children of today’s middle class. (Edmonton Sun, March 23, 2016)

Stephen Gordon, Universite Laval:
Kind of surprised and perhaps disappointed that there’s no time line to get out of deficit. We knew they were going to go in and the platform said go in, spend, spend a little bit and we stop spending and we go back out again. Here we have go in, pretty darn deep, and now the way of getting out is, when growth comes back to what we think is good, they don’t specify that and we’ll see, I guess. (CBC Power and Politics, March 22, 2016)

Canadian Chamber of Commerce:
“We are disappointed with the government’s decision to push back the small business tax reduction and questions the idea of contemplating increases to CPP at this point. As businesses struggle, this added pressure could slow down job creation and investment.” (…/bl…/160322-a-budget-spread-too-thin/)

Bill Curry and Bob Fife, Globe and Mail:
“But the Finance Minister now faces concern that he’s plunging Ottawa into deep deficits – $29.4-billion in the first full year – without a clear plan to return to surplus.” (Globe and Mail, March 23, 2016)

Jeffrey Simpson, Globe and Mail:
“Long gone was the Liberal promise to balance the budget in four years.” (Globe and Mail, March 23, 2016)

Toronto Sun Editorial:
During last year’s election, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he’d grow the economy “from the heart outwards”. It now’s clear he meant he was going to try to grow it by turning our pockets inside out. Because we know full well where the money to pay for his staggering deficits is going to come from – our wallets in the near future and those of our children in years to come. (Toronto Sun, March 23, 2016)

David Akin:
Canada’s back all right. Back into the red. (Toronto Sun, March 23, 2016)

Chuck Davidson, Manitoba Chambers of Commerce:
“It’s a bit of a concern there doesn’t seem to be a long-term plan in terms of getting us back to a balanced budget,” he said.” (, March 22, 2016;…/manitoba-stakeholders-react-to-liberal-…)

Anthony Furey
Here’s another major pledge they’ve broken: “After the next two fiscal years,” the Liberal platform reads, “the deficit will decline and our investment plan will return Canada to a balanced budget in 2019.” They actually said they’d ring in a $1 billion surplus that year. Instead the budget puts us a further $17.7 billion in the hole. (Toronto Sun, March 23, 2016)

Anthony Furey, Toronto Sun:
Two years ago Trudeau notoriously said that if you commit to growing the economy “the budget will balance itself.” Well Tuesday’s budget was his first shot at turning this theory into practice. And he failed. (Toronto Sun, March 23, 2016)

Kevin Page:
“No fiscal targets. No plan for fiscal consolidation,” Kevin Page, the former parliamentary budget officer, said shaking his head. (Toronto Sun, March 23, 2016)

Mike Moffatt, Western University:
It wasn’t clear to me how they were going to balance within four years. And it turns out the answer is they’re not. They’re not going to. (CBC Power and Politics, March 22, 2016)

Anthony Furey, Toronto Sun:
You call this sunny ways? Multiple broken promises and a whopping increase to the debt? Yikes. If what was released Tuesday is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s happy feel-good budget, I really hope he never subjects us to the dark-skies version. (Toronto Sun, March 23, 2016)

An indefinite deficit: federal Budget ignores Pontiac, QC

The recently issued federal Budget promises an excessive amount of new spending, with very little to show for Pontiac, QC.

Liberals have confirmed that they are borrowing $30 billion dollars in this year alone, with the majority of funds not to be spent right away on roads, highways or public transportation. Rather, we are being given long-term structural deficits through massive hikes in program spending that will not grow the economy.

Borrowed money has to be paid back. Tax credits are already being scrapped, with more increases to come as debt interest payments pile up. Over 5 years, the Liberal deficit total will hit $100 billion, and there is no timeline whatsoever in the Budget document for us to be back in a surplus position. Essentially, we are facing an indefinite deficit, after Finance Canada showed a budgetary surplus of $4.3 billion from April 2015 to January 2016.

No timeline is offered for a return to a balanced budget – image obtained here

Concerning Pontiac families, the Liberals are ending the Children`s Fitness Tax Credit (hockey is now more expensive); the Children`s Art Tax Credit (artistic/music classes are now more expensive) and also eliminated are tax credits for post-secondary education & textbooks. Income splitting for parents is also gone.

Pontiac small businesses were forgotten as well, as the Liberals are keeping the small businesses tax rate at 10.5% instead of lowering it to the scheduled 9% – a scheduled policy that had near unanimous support from all political parties. The Liberals are also ending the small business hiring credit. These items entail that the largest group of employers in the region are going to have less money to generate growth here, and that is a travesty for jobs.

Few, if any, pre-budget consultations were done by the local Liberal MP for Budget 2016, and that is clearly reflected with what we ended up with. Disappointingly, Pontiac is paying far too much for what we’re getting, and we’ll be paying for it for a long time.