Blaine Calkins/MP for Red Deer-Lacombe

MP Calkins responds to 2021 federal budget

Opinion

This is what happens when people think budgets balance themselves. On April 19, Justin Trudeau released his 2021 budget, his first in two years, which introduces risky and untested economic schemes that will harm the personal financial security of Canadians by strangling job growth and raising taxes on hardworking Canadian families. It is most certainly not a balanced budget.

As a Member of Parliament from Alberta, I have some serious concerns about this budget and its impact on this province and the people that I represent.

Once again, there is nothing in this budget that addresses the increasing rates of rural crime in our province and across the country. Canadians are being victimized regularly and this government continues to turn a blind eye.

The budget also fails to properly support our agriculture sector and focuses primarily on climate issues. Farmers have for generations been the stewards of our land. Budget 2021 fails to recognize their important contributions to our environment, such as zero till and low till, and reward them for it. Rather than adopt Conservative Bill C-206 and exempt farm fuel from the full burden of the Carbon Tax they are only giving back a pittance of what farmers pay to run their farms and important implements such as grain dryers.

Budget 2021 contains nothing for our oil and gas sector, other than decelerating the capital cost allowance on technologies used in this sector, thereby further discouraging investment. It’s interesting to note that the word “pipeline” is mentioned 5 times in the budget, but not a single instance is related to the energy sector.

Unemployed Canadians hoping to see a plan to create new jobs and economic opportunities for their families are going to feel let down.

Workers who have had their wages cut and hours slashed hoping to see a plan to reopen the economy are going to feel let down.

Families that can’t afford more taxes and are struggling to save more money for their children’s education or to buy a home are going to feel let down.

While I am very concerned about what is not in the budget, I am also very concerned about what is in the budget. It seems to me that Budget 2021 is increasing and encouraging dependency on the government at a time when we should be concerned about strengthening our economy and securing our nation.

After celebrating a deficit of only $354.2 billion in 2020/21, the Liberals are excited to announce an additional deficit of $154.7 billion for 2021/22. In fact, Trudeau’s projections show that the federal debt load will nearly double to $1.4 trillion by 2026, up from $721 billion before the pandemic. With Budget 2021, Government debt will exceed 100% GDP. They have abandoned any fiscal anchors at all. It remains unfathomable to me that the Liberal government continues to mothball the oil and gas sector, the economic driver of our nation in favour of increasing financial burden on Canadians.

As I only received this budget at the same time as the rest of Canada, I will be spending the next few days reviewing this massive 724-page document.

Make no mistake, Budget 2021 is an election budget, but only if Justin Trudeau needs your vote.

Opinion