Want a more prosperous life? You won’t find the path forward in this year’s budget

This year’s budget missed the mark and should serve as the final nail in the coffin on Trudeau’s tenure in office. Pictured: Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland. Photo Credit: Chrystia Freeland/X. 

“Right now, for too many young Canadians, the promise of Canada, the kind of Canada that older Canadians came of age in, it doesn’t feel like it’s working. People can have a good job, they can be working hard, but they are just not sure that will lead to a safe, prosperous and secure life.” 

These remarks weren’t delivered by either Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre or NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh in the final hours leading up to the tabling of the federal budget.

No, they were spoken by Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland herself. It speaks volumes about the current state of our country that the Liberals have no choice but to acknowledge the hard truth of the current economic situation we find ourselves in. 

After nine consecutive budgets delivered by the Trudeau government – and Freeland’s fourth as finance minister – there is no ghost of former prime minister Stephen Harper to invoke. As for the old campaign slogan of hope and hard work, where a hardworking family could make ends meet and hope for the same kind of life their parents had? Those days are firmly in the rear-view mirror.

The two-week pre-budget rollout was meant to act as both a reset for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as well as an opportunity to reconnect with disenchanted Gen Z and Millennial voters who delivered the Liberals a majority government in 2015 and minority parliaments in both the 2019 and 2021 elections. 

These young Canadians, many of whom have only ever had an opportunity to cast a ballot in the last decade, have entered adulthood at a time when home ownership has become a distant reality. 

Coupled with the fact that Canada’s much lauded social safety net has been completely overwhelmed in recent years, and access to basic services like a family doctor are a pipe dream, it’s no surprise that public polling over the last several months shows a simmering anger amongst younger demographics. 

Instead of getting a handle on federal spending, the Trudeau government committed nearly $40 billion to “priority” areas. While housing initiatives were a big line item in the budget, supply and construction of new builds in an era of high interest rates continues to be the elephant in the room. Hopeful young Canadians shouldn’t expect to magically find themselves in an affordable detached home anytime soon.

Commitments for a national school program and the Canada Disability Benefit will be funded through a redistribution scheme, also known as a capital gains tax on Canada’s wealthiest individuals. While many will see this move as good politics to make the rich pay their fair share, the fact of the matter is this policy will disproportionality impact Canada’s professional class. Think doctors, lawyers, accountants, and small business owners – individuals who also are responsible for job creation in the country. 

In isolation, things like lack of housing supply, access to basic services that are paid for out of the taxpayer pocket, new taxes and federal debt servicing are problematic. Taken together, the challenges facing our country feel insurmountable.

It is this sentiment that will be the ultimate driver of change in the next election. This year’s budget missed the mark and should serve as the final nail in the coffin on Trudeau’s tenure in office.

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