National Post (Latest Edition)


- Diane Francis

The Liberals have two skills — taxing and spending — and both were on display in the 2021 federal budget that was released Monday, one year after it was supposed to be.

Predictabl­y, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s budget played to its NDP lifeline by slapping a luxury tax on the few thousands or so Canadians who can afford to buy a car worth more than $100,000, a private aircraft or a boat worth more than $250,000.

That showy piece of political theatre is budgetary red meat for the socialists, but won’t actually raise enough money to keep the lights on in Trudeau’s residences, one of which he apparently doesn’t occupy at all. Nor will it go very far toward whittling down the colossal deficit that the Liberals have rung up — a whopping $354 billion in the 2020-21 fiscal year, according to the budget.

Canada’s fiscal situation has been made all the much worse because the Liberals handed out tens of billions of dollars worth of Canada Emergency Response Benefit payments indiscrimi­nately, including to teenage babysitter­s who are supported by their parents.

Other pandemic spending sprees involved a multi-million dollar deal with a Chinese vaccine maker that delivered zero doses and tens of millions that were given away to build vaccine manufactur­ing facilities that likely won’t be needed when they’re completed.

Speaking of babysitter­s getting grants, the Liberal tax on private jets and yachts certainly won’t put a dent in the government’s newly announced daycare program, which will cost $30 billion over the next five years and $8.3 billion a year after that. This is another Liberal and NDP gift that will keep on giving.

The pandemic spending spree is also far from over, thanks to Trudeau’s bungling of vaccine procuremen­t and border controls. The result is that Canada will continue to face lockdowns, economic pain, pandemic support handouts, hazardous vaccine rationing and a health-care crisis for months to come. At Canada’s current rate of vaccinatio­n, Canadians likely won’t be fully vaccinated until the end of the year.

Aside from that grim truth, the good news is that the budget isn’t as bad as it could have been, as the Liberals decided not to implement a new wealth tax. Instead, a government source told Reuters that they will “be taking meaningful steps to close loopholes and tackle tax evasion, and ask those who are doing well right now to pay just a little bit more.”

Of course, exploiting loopholes and tax evasion is a Canadian pastime, given our excessive tax rates, so by the time a serious wealth tax comes along — capital gains and principal residences look out! — most targets will have fled the country, or socked away their assets in trusts or anonymous companies in Bermuda or Luxembourg.

But that’s OK, because the Liberals and NDP can always count on the “sheeple” — the vast majority of Canadians who abide by the law, live moral lives and aren’t tax deadbeats — and the oil industry — which continues to be a large source of government revenue despite being reviled in Ottawa — to foot this massive bill.

Unfortunat­ely, this G7 economy is run by a gang that can’t jab straight, so don’t count on things getting better any time soon.

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