How The Federal Budget Impacts Alberta
The federal government just tabled their budget (finally!).
The deficits are alarming, the debt is staggering, and Ottawa clearly has no intention of stopping their intrusions into areas of provincial jurisdictions anytime soon.
In short, bad news for Alberta.
The first thing to note about the budget is that it's late - really late.
Budgets are normally annual affairs, but the federal government avoided presenting a budget completely last year.
That means we've all had to wait 762 days to get any kind of transparency about just how much money was being spent, on COVID-related matters and on everything else.
Yes, we know there's been a pandemic, but almost every other provincial government, municipal government, and even governments of other nations have managed to table a budget during the pandemic, so there's really no excuse for Canada.
After two years of handing out free money to any and every cause, without any serious scrutiny, we already knew this budget would be bad, but wow, it's seriously bad.
This fiscal year Canada's budget deficit will be $354.2 billion.
That's almost $10,000 for every single Canadian.
Remember, that's not how much per person we owe in total - that's just how much we added to the total debt this year!
Canada's total debt is now $1.1 trillion - about $30,000 per Canadian!
Can you and your family imagine what you could do with $30,000 per family member?
Or, perhaps more importantly - what you won't be able to do without that $30,000 per family member as you pay off that debt in the coming years?
The deficits don't end this year though - there's another $154.7 billion deficit projected for 2021-22 and $59.7 billion more in 2022-23.
And that's if the government's projections of reducing deficits actually come true.
The federal government has been projecting shrinking deficits every year since they were elected and not once has it actually happened.
Apparently, budgets don't balance themselves - who would have thought?
You might think that with all that red ink already spilt, the government would at least get serious about slowing down their increased spending.
Unfortunately, the opposite seems to be the case, with two massive new government programs announced today that once again creep well outside of federal jurisdiction and into provincial jurisdiction.
First, the federal government announced a national daycare program.
They only plan to pay for half of the program, requiring the provinces to make up the difference to the tune of an extra $30 billion.
Of course, Albertans are expected to pay both federal and provincial tax, so it's not really the federal government paying half, and the provincial government paying half, it's taxpayers paying for the whole thing.
(And don't even get us started about how Alberta taxpayers will be subsidizing the other provinces' programs, because we will be!)
The federal government also announced plans to introduce a federally-mandated minimum wage.
It's unclear yet whether this would extend beyond federal government employees, but if it does, this would represent yet another area of provincial jurisdiction that Ottawa seems intent on taking over.
So much for the Supreme Court's claim that their recent carbon tax ruling wouldn't set a precedent that would allow the federal government to intrude into more and more areas of provincial jurisdiction!
If anything, the federal government is now moving full-steam-ahead to erode any remaining respect for the constitution's division of powers.
More details about the budget will come to light in the coming days as analysts - including ourselves - examine the 700+ page budget document tabled only an hour ago.
The Alberta Institute will keep you apprised of all of those details, and what this budget means for Alberta in the coming days.
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