Budget 2019: Trudeau’s Cover-Up Budget

March 25, 2021

The Honourable Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance, recently introduced Budget 2019 in the House of Commons. It was tabled while Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government is deeply entrenched in the SNC-Lavalin corruption scandal and used as an attempt to distract Canadians with their own money. It’s clearly a cover-up budget by Prime Minister Trudeau who is trying to bury this scandal under $41 billion of brand new spending, which Canadians will pay for through higher taxes if he is re-elected. Canadians can see Budget 2019 for what it really is – nothing more than desperate, election year promises from a Liberal government mired in scandal and corruption.

Prime Minister Trudeau promised Canadians that 2019 would be the year that the budget was balanced. Instead, he’s borrowing $19.8 billion this year. Today’s deficits are tomorrow’s tax hikes. Breaking promises is a Liberal tradition, as they’ve been promising a pharmacare plan for decades and have done absolutely nothing about it. It was in their 1997 election platform and was again promised in 2004. In Budget 2019, the current Liberal government is proposing “to work with provinces, territories, and stakeholders to create the Canadian Drug Agency” and to spend $35 million to “establish a Canadian Drug Agency Transition Office.” There is no reason to believe they will come through this time, especially given how desperate they are to change the channel from their corruption.

Budget 2019 provides new details regarding the Liberals’ media bailout. Specifically, it will allow: journalism organizations to register as qualified donees; a refundable labour tax credit for qualifying journalism organizations; and a non-refundable tax credit for subscriptions to Canadian digital news. A healthy democracy relies on an independent press, free of political influence. It should never be up to any government to determine which media outlets receive government support and which media outlets do not.

Prime Minister Trudeau’s cover-up Budget also proposes to introduce legislation that would enhance the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) earnings exemption (beginning in 2020) from $3,500 to $5,000 and to proactively enroll Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributors who are age 70 or older, but who have not yet applied to receive their benefit. They are also proposing to increase the amount of funding for the New Horizons for Seniors Program. Seniors have never been a priority for Justin Trudeau. It took him three years to finally appoint a minister responsible for seniors and he’s only made things worse for seniors. Instead of introducing tax measures that would make life more affordable for those living on a fixed income, his government has introduced a Carbon Tax that will increase the cost of gas, home heating, and everyday essentials.

Budget 2019 includes the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive, which would reduce the monthly payments required to buy a home and proposes to increase the Home Buyers’ Plan withdrawal limit to $35,000 for RRSP withdrawals after March 19, 2019, as well as allow individuals who experience the breakdown of a marriage or common-law partnership to participate in the Home Buyers’ Plan, even if they don’t meet the first-time home buyer requirement. The Prime Minister has pushed the dream of homeownership further away by making it harder to save for a down payment, as 80 per cent of middle income Canadians are paying higher taxes.

Trudeau’s cover-up Budget 2019 includes the Canada Training Benefit – “a personalized, portable training benefit to help people plan for and get the training they need.” This new ‘benefit’ will include two components, a new, non-taxable “Canada Training Credit” to help with the cost of training fees, and a new “Employment Insurance Training Support Benefit” to provide income support when an individual requires time off from work to receive skills training. However, the $250 tax credit is only available to workers starting in 2020 with “earnings of at least $10,000 (including maternity and parental benefits) and income of less than $150,000.” If the Prime Minister was serious about helping Canadian workers, he wouldn’t have tried to tax employee discounts, health and dental benefits, and go after small business owners.

Nothing in Budget 2019 can be taken seriously. It was drafted under a cloud of scandal and created with only one intention: to distract Canadians from Liberal corruption and to cover-up for Justin Trudeau. Canadians can see through this sideshow and its empty promises. We, the Conservative Official Opposition, will continue to carefully review this Budget and hold the Prime Minister to account for his corruption.