cern across our country, this spring it exceeded Canada’s GDP for the first time. Total household credit-market debt reached $1.97-trillion, with $1.29-trillion in mortgages and $585.8-billion in credit cards, car loans, and other personal loans. According to Statistics Canada, families now owe $1.68 for every $1 of disposable income. Much of this debt is being fueled by near recordlow interest rates coming out of the 2008-09 global recession. The Bank of Canada, not to mention the International Monetary Fund, has been warning that any adverse shock to the economy will have real implications for families. Unfortunately, it’s not just households that face a growing debt problem. There seems to be no end to the appetite for debt among provincial and federal governments, and they’re dragging far too many municipalities down with them. Fueled by cost-shared “stimulus” spending programs, many municipalities across our country took on reams of red ink over the past decade. Now, with a bust cycle in full swing, some municipalities here in Alberta are struggling to collect taxes from faltering businesses and energy companies. Meanwhile, revenue tied to construction and population growth has all but evaporated. With our province mired in the worst recession since the 1980s, the last thing we need right now are government policies that take more money out of our economy. Yet governments are lining up to do just that. The Notley Carbon Tax is slated to take effect on January 1. Alberta’s minimum wage, already the highest in Canada, will jump to $15/ hour in 2018. The Trudeau Carbon Tax kicks in 2018. And then seven years’ worth of Canada Pension Plan premium hikes start in 2019. Implementing all of these policies at once will remove tens of billions from our economy. This means even more job losses and declining property values. Why does this matter so much? When historic debt levels meet declining property values, we aren’t going to like what happens next. Yes, I oppose the Trudeau Carbon Tax. I also oppose the Notley Carbon Tax, and all of these other policies. When you follow the money, they add up to one inescapable outcome: A government legislated debt spiral.
These are the self-inflicted mistakes we simply cannot afford if we expect to compete in the global economy.