Latest federal budget panned as a national debt builder

Canada's debt growing

With the Liberal government's ninth budget just tabled, I was cautiously optimistic we might see a change of direction to address inflationary food costs, high-interest rates impacting mortgage renewals and first-time home buyers trying to get into the market, and our ever growing national debt.

Conservative MPs asked for a budget that would “axe” the (carbon) tax on farmers and food, build more homes instead of bureaucracy, and cap spending with a dollar-for-dollar rule to bring down interest rates and inflation. Ottawa should be finding a dollar in savings for every new dollar of spending it wants to enact.

Unfortunately, the government recommitted itself to the same inflationary deficits that have pushed Canadians into a cost-of-living crisis.

In her budget speech, the finance minister talked about not passing ballooning debt on to our children. But that is exactly what this budget does.

Budget 2024 forecasts the federal debt will rise to $1.2 trillion this year and the interest we'll pay in servicing that debt will increase to $54 billion this fiscal year.

The budget also shows last year the government raised $51 billion in revenue from the GST. As a comparison, that means that every cent of GST Canadians, businesses, or not-for-profits pay on products or services they buy won't go towards a single government service or program. Instead, it will be used solely to pay the interest on the government's credit card. As another comparison, $54 billion is more than the federal government intends to spend on healthcare transfers to provinces this fiscal year.

There is widespread backlash by local residents and national groups representing persons living with disabilities with the government's proposal in the budget for the Canada Disability Benefit, which won’t be implemented until well into 2025, leaving more questions than answers.

Many with disabilities are already among the hardest hit by this cost-of-living crisis. There have been five years of Liberal ministerial photo ops and announcements, and people are tired of all the broken promises.

The budget’s title is “Fairness for Every Generation.” Skyrocketing federal debt will consume more and more of our tax dollars while potentially putting future social, environmental or security initiatives at risk. I would argue that isn't worth the cost to any generation and certainly isn’t fair to young adults and kids who will bear the brunt of paying the debt down (in the future).

This unwavering commitment to higher debt and higher deficits has characterized the Liberal government's last nine years.

Also, over the last nine years, we’ve seen a doubling of rent, mortgage payments and down payments. We have seen a record two million visits to food banks in a single month. This is not coincidental and is, in fact, the consequence of hundreds of billions of dollars in federal deficits driving up costs.

That's what both the Bank of Canada and former Liberal finance minister John Manley confirmed when they said the federal government's deficit spending was pressing on the inflationary gas pedal, forcing the Bank of Canada to balloon interest rates as a brake.

New program spending outlined in Budget 2024 won't meaningfully impact consumers' costs if inflation is not brought under control, therefore lowering interest rates and if the government continues to increase taxes, which they are. Food, gas prices and unemployment are also predicted to rise through 2024. That is why David Dodge, the former Liberal-appointed governor of the Bank of Canada, said this budget is the worst budget he's seen since 1982.

These are just some of the reasons I and my Conservative colleagues will vote against the Liberal government's ninth debt and deficit-fuelled budget.

If you need assistance with federal programs or have any thoughts to share, feel free to reach out, at 250-470-5075 or at [email protected].

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Tracy Gray, Conservative MP for Kelowna-Lake Country, is her party's critic for Employment, Future Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

She is a member of the national caucus committee’s credit union caucus, wine caucus, and aviation caucus.

Gray, who has won the RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award, worked for 27 years in the B.C. beverage industry.

She founded and owned Discover Wines VQA Wine Stores, which included the No. 1 wine store in B.C. for 13 years. She has been involved in small businesses in different sectors — financing, importing, oil and gas services and a technology start-up — and is among the “100 New Woman Pioneers in B.C."

Gray was a Kelowna city councillor for the 2014 term, sat on the Passenger Transportation Board from 2010-2012 and was elected to the board of Prospera Credit Union for 10 years.

In addition, she served on the boards of the Okanagan Film Commission, Clubhouse Childcare Society, Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, Okanagan Regional Library and was chairwoman of the Okanagan Basin Water Board.

She volunteers extensively in the community and welcomes connecting with residents.

She can be reached at 250-470-5075, and [email protected]


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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