Canadians from coast to coast are waiting with bated breath for this year’s federal budget, set to be presented on Tuesday.
Canada finds itself in a time of great uncertainty. At some point this summer, cannabis will be legalized for sale across the country and the startup costs associated with that will be substantial. Carbon taxes will be cropping up across the country. And most significantly, the future of NAFTA remains an unknown.
With all the uncertainty, it would be prudent to offer support to businesses, but instead Trudeau’s government is expected to do the opposite. Proposed tax changes that were introduced last summer will hurt the bottom line of many small businesses across the country, but all indications are that Finance Minister Bill Morneau intends to push ahead with them. This comes in spite of vocal opposition from entrepreneurs across the country, including St. Albert.
Much of the pre-budget conversation has focused on the government’s plan to push for more gender equality, including measures to boost the participation of women in the workforce. Morneau believes the measures will make Canada more competitive.
“This is how we will continue to target smart investments into key areas that create good, well-paying jobs, and make us all more competitive in the global economy of tomorrow,” he said in a statement.
Increasing the number of women in the workplace is a laudable goal, but it may not make much of a difference if it’s not accompanied by job creation.
In the United States, the government has opted to significantly reduce business taxes and cut regulations. These are measures intended to spur investment, while Canada is taking the opposite tactic of “tax reform” and the introduction of a carbon tax for provinces that haven’t created their own.
One thing that is certain is that leadership is lacking in our federal government. Trudeau is hoping that media coverage will focus on the measures for equality and not all the other shortcomings Canadians have seen since the 2015 election.
Broken promises have become the norm for the federal Liberals. Deficits are the expectation. Non-profit groups can’t get summer student funding without signing off on Liberal ideology. Provinces are fighting with each other without any hint of consequence or intervention from Trudeau. Our prime minister can’t even go on a trade mission to India without embarrassing our country by inviting a convicted attempted murderer to an important reception.
Although Trudeau and Morneau are navigating a time of uncertainty, strong leadership could mitigate some of the issues. Businesses need to know they have a leader that will help them stay competitive. Taxpayers need to know that they have a government that will keep spending in line and not waste their hard-earned money.
Those looking forward to the federal budget should keep their expectations low. Without strong leadership, the only thing for certain is more uncertainty.