Earlier this month, the Fraser Institute released a report stating that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has spent the second-most per capita on programs of any prime minister.
While former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper did edge out Trudeau to claim the title of largest spender, the circumstances around these figures are important to consider, according to the Fraser Institute.
“Per-person spending spiked 18.5 per cent to its highest point in Canadian history ($8,375) during the recession of 2009 under the Harper government,” reads the report. “However, per person spending then declined by a cumulative total of 13.1 per cent between 2009 and 2014.”
When Trudeau took office in October 2015, he immediately began raising the budget. Unlike the year Harper raised per capita spending, which was in the midst of the Great Recession, Trudeau came into power during a time of relative prosperity for Canada.
“Looking back at government spending in Canada since Confederation, this year stands out because unlike most other spending spikes, there’s no recession or war to explain it,” said Jason Clemens, the Fraser Institute’s executive vice-president in a news release. And yet, this increase in Trudeau’s spending is the third largest since World War II
So far, according to the report, Trudeau has increased annual per capita spending by 5.2 per cent – a significant increase over Harper’s average of 1.3 per cent per year. Indeed, Trudeau’s newly announced 2017 “gendered” budget is projected to allocate $8,337 per capita, falling just dollars short of Harper’s recession-era stimulus budget.
Conservative Party interim leader Rona Ambrose said that Trudeau’s budget “misses a critical opportunity on behalf of Canadians to respond to Trump’s aggressive move forward to reduce taxes on both businesses and individuals. There are no tax breaks here on income taxes, no tax breaks here for businesses, in fact, taxes are going up for small businesses.”
Taxes on transit, Uber, cigarettes and beer will all be going up and several tax breaks will be eliminated thanks to Trudeau’s budget, which is seemingly trying to make up for his egregious spending habits.
Nevertheless, after unveiling this budget, the Trudeau government has projected a $28.5 billion deficit in the 2017-2018 fiscal year – beating out earlier projections. This is in stark contrast to the state that Harper left the country in when he handed over power to Trudeau. In September 2015, the Harper government left with a $1.9 billion surplus.
Trudeau’s government has yet to outline a plan to get the books back in the black – which marks yet another unfulfilled campaign promise. Meanwhile, the Trudeau Liberals seem constantly fraught with scandals concerning unnecessary expenditures.
The Trudeau government recently came under fire for spending $1,900 of taxpayer money on 14 life-sized cardboard cut-out standies of the prime minister. Global Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland argued that the cut-outs were an integral part of “re-engaging with the world to champion the values that Canadians hold dear.” Though taxpayers being left with this burden may beg to differ.
Furthermore, this week an iPolitics article revealed that the Trudeau government has spent approximately $14,500 (USD) on event-themed Snapchat filters for Canada’s 150th, the NHL’s 100th anniversary, and several other events. The filter created for the NHL 100 event was only used by 859 accounts. Some filters fared even worse, with one created for Iqaluit only being used three times.
The Trudeau government is projecting deficits in the range of $20 billion per year over the next few years. In January of this year, Canada’s Finance Department projected that, should policy remain unchanged, the government will continue to run annual shortfalls until the 2050-2051 fiscal year.