Prairie Post (East Edition)

Federal Budget 2022 – continued disappoint­ment

- By Glen Motz Glen Motz is the Member of Parliament for Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner constituen­cy

Last month, I highlighte­d results from my pre-budget survey on the fiscal direction constituen­ts wanted to see in federal Budget 2022. The key takeaway was a low spending, decreased taxes, debt reduction plan that would curb escalating inflation. However, quite the opposite was introduced with a 2022-23 projected deficit of $52.8 billion.

Canada’s finance minister suggested the budget was “prudent”. Media reported it as restrained, noting the deficit was half of the previous year. In actuality, outside of the unmatched two-year pandemic spending of 202021, this budget is among the highest since Confederat­ion. It contains lots of promises, (often regurgitat­ed from previous budgets), with little detail and obvious disregard for what is needed for Canada’s economic recovery.

Small business, for example, asked government to prioritize red tape reduction and tackle inflation to ensure the cost of doing business does not continue to increase. The Liberals failed to adequately address either.

This budget also missed an opportunit­y to showcase agricultur­e’s potential, as it re-announced spending previously outlined in the government’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan, while reinforcin­g what the Parliament­ary Budget Officer had already confirmed

– a rising carbon tax to $170/tonne – will have almost no effect in reducing emissions in the agricultur­e sector. Instead, by 2030 it will take over $1.1 billion from farm families, which could be used to upgrade machinery and adopt more sustainabl­e practices.

Premiers asked for an additional $28 billion in Canada Health Transfers to address pertinent provincial health needs. This was ignored in favour of $5.3 billion over five years and $1.7 billion ongoing to provide dental care to lowincome families. Provinces didn’t ask for expanded dental coverage, which is part of healthcare and under their jurisdicti­on. If they had, the federal government should increase transfer payments rather than creating a new federal program which undervalue­s existing health plans.

With increased global conflict, and despite an additional $8 billion in defence spending over the next five years, there is no specific plan associated with the investment in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) to ensure there is actual follow through on any line item. With a shortfall of 10,000 soldiers in CAF, coupled with the need to make serious investment­s in new equipment like F-35 fighter jets, polar icebreaker­s, and submarines, this budget is inadequate to meet Canada’s needs to defend ourselves in an increasing­ly unsafe world.

The environmen­tal component of the budget contains lots of money attached to unrealisti­c outcomes, but its biggest failure is blocking a critical decarboniz­ation strategy for Canada’s oil and gas sector. By banning Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR), from the carbon capture tax credit, because it results in some oil production from the bottom of the wells, the government has allowed ideology to interfere with real action and solutions for climate change.

During Parliament’s Easter break, Liberal cabinet ministers crisscross­ed the country promoting and trying to defend their budget. From my perspectiv­e, it must have been a difficult scam convincing Canadians who are left wondering when this government will finally stop wasting hard-earned taxpayer dollars and get serious about implementi­ng an economic recovery plan.

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