Justin Trudeau won the election on his promise to run deficits but return to a balanced budget by the end of his term. He's backed away from the promise to return to balance by the end of the term -- something that isn't surprising, given the slowing U.S. and Chinese economies. But, Tim Harper writes, Trudeau will have to eventually answer the questions, "How big and How long?" And the answers to those questions will not come easily:
Big city mayors have big city hopes for infrastructure spending. The AFN wants a targeted First Nations infrastructure program.
Bombardier is knocking at Ottawa’s door and if the Trudeau cabinet has not already decided to float the company $1 billion (U.S), Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains set the stage for that Tuesday, reminding us the aerospace sector employs 180,000 people and adds $29 billion to our gross domestic product.Tax changes aimed at helping the middle class did not come in revenue neutral and is costing the treasury up to $8.9 billion over the next six years.The cost of the Syrian refugee resettlement program will top $1.2 billion over six years, according to one estimate, there is $1 billion allocated for humanitarian aid for refugees in the region and Ottawa pledged $15 million to the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights this week.Alberta has already been promised some $700 million in a special fund, and Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador could also be eligible for such help. The CBC has been promised $150 million annually in new funding. The Canadian Association of University Teachers wants an investment of $1.1 billion over three years to support scientific research and access to post-secondary education.
Some of these expenditures are admittedly small change in a $2-trillion budget. Others are not. Most are laudable. But how many are doable?
The times call for Keynesian economic solutions. But Trudeau faces an opposition which is fixated on the failed economic policies of Milton Friedman. And the myths Friedman perpetuated are alive and well.
It will take a great deal of political skill to silence Friedman's ghost.