The economic disaster that is Justin Trudeau

All governments promise more than they ultimately deliver, but with the Trudeau gang we can safely say Canadians were really sold an enormous lie. Photo Credit: PMO/Adam Scotti.


It’s no surprise to anyone but the most deluded Liberal partisans that the policies of the Trudeau government have been a disaster for Canada’s economy. But just how much of a disaster may be up for debate. A recent analysis by the Fraser Institute painstakingly puts that question to rest as it details just how much of a disaster has taken place on every economic front. It is a depressing but accurate take on Trudeau’s economic record. 

As the study points out, it is worth remembering what we were promised by the “sunny ways” of Trudeau back in 2015. The Liberals campaigned on a more activist government which would slightly increase spending but nevertheless keep deficits at a maximum of $10 billion and balance the budget by 2019. Canadians other than the evil rich were to see tax reductions. Prosperity for the “middle class and those working to join it” was assured. 

What a fairy tale. For one thing, the Liberals ramped up spending drastically as soon as they took power. One of the reasons for this is they wanted to try to obscure the fact that the Harper government had left them a balanced budget, which had been confirmed by both the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) and senior Finance Department officials. 

Since they took power in 2015, spending under the Liberals has increased by an astronomical 75 per cent as of fiscal 2022-23. This translated to the five highest years of federal government spending per person in Canadian history – more than during World War II and the 2008 financial crisis. 

Some of this big spending was blamed on the pandemic, but today spending has still not returned to pre-pandemic levels and Canada spent about double what most other developed countries did on pandemic-related issues. As we increasingly find out with investigations such as the ArriveCan debacle, much of the spending went to Liberal friends who were paid exceedingly well for doing nothing. 

As spending was largely financed by debt, the federal government now spends almost $50 billion annually just paying the interest on that debt – which is almost as much as it contributes to health care. We should all remember how Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland told us how we couldn’t afford “not” to borrow as interest rates were so low, just before interest rates increased substantially. 

Massive government hiring accompanied massive government spending. Trudeau has increased government size by an enormous 40 per cent, at a time when most Canadians would say that government service quality has actually deteriorated despite all the extra taxpayer money spent. Even more worrisome is the fact pointed out in the Fraser analysis that federal government employment from February 2020 (prior to the pandemic) to June 2023 expanded by almost 12 per cent as compared to 3.3 per cent in the private sector. When the wealth-consuming sector of the economy grows at a rate more than triple that of the wealth-producing sector, we have serious problems. 

Another metric noted in the Fraser study that has deservedly received more attention recently is GDP per capita. This is basically an indication of our standard of living, and the news is not good. Since the Trudeau government was elected, our standard of living has been essentially stagnant while that of other countries has increased. Canadians’ dissatisfaction with their current economic circumstances suggests we are catching on to this fact. To add insult to injury, several international comparative studies predict that Canada will have the worse performance among developed countries for decades to come if we continue on the current path. 

Trends in foreign investment in Canada are also disastrous, and the Canadian economy has historically been very dependent on investment from the US and elsewhere. Trudeau’s anti-business policies, ever-increasing regulatory burden and neglect of our vital resource industries has meant foreign investors are steering clear of Canada. 

Between 2014 and 2021, business investment per worker, adjusted for inflation and excluding the overpriced residential construction component, fell by $3,676 in Canada compared to growth of $3,418 in the US. In other words, in 2014 businesses in Canada invested 79 cents per workers for every dollar invested in the US. In 2021, that had declined significantly to only 55 cents per worker. 

As for those promises of lower taxes for everyone but the “rich,” they have turned out to be fantasies as well. Higher income earners were indeed taxed more, to the extent that the highest top personal tax rate is now over 50 per cent in eight Canadian provinces. In 2022, Canada had the fifth-highest tax rate out of 38 OECD countries. These high tax rates make it very difficult for Canada to attract the entrepreneurs, professionals and investors that spur economic growth. 

Taxes did not only increase for higher-income earners though, as currently about 86 per cent of middle-income Canadians are paying higher taxes and 60 per cent of families in the lowest 20 per cent of income are paying more in income taxes. And this is not to mention the payroll tax increases (CPP and EI premiums), carbon taxes and excise taxes on alcohol. 

The Fraser study goes on to mention other areas in which the Trudeau government has damaged Canadian economic prospects, and every Canadian should read the entire analysis. Sadly, there is no good news despite the ongoing claims of Liberal Ministers and MPs that everything is going swimmingly. All governments promise more than they ultimately deliver, but with the Trudeau gang we can safely say Canadians were really sold an enormous lie. Even the promises they made that did materialize to some extent are greatly flawed, as we are finding out with the marijuana market where underground suppliers are flourishing and the growing problems with the so-called $10 per day daycare and dental care programs which are collapsing because of poor planning and rushed implementation. 

Public opinion polls are reflecting the fact that Canadians have finally figured out that the Trudeau gang have been an unmitigated disaster for Canada, although it took a very long time for that to happen, and much damage was done in the interim. One certainty is that the next government will have a great deal of difficult work to do. 


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