Cathy McLeod denounces deficit growth

Federal finance plan not aimed at rural roads, infrastructure

The Liberal’s economic plan has “failed,” according to Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod who says she believes Canadians are going to pay for it for generations to come.

McLeod adds she has “huge, huge concerns” about the planned spending and deficit outlined in government’s annual fall economic statement delivered by Finance Minister Bill Morneau earlier this month.

“Their deficit is not about infrastructure, it’s about structural [spending] decisions they are making that are just going to create huge problems down the road.”

This government is “spending more than ever” with these new projects, yet Morneau is set to increase the national debt by $31.8 billion over the next five years – to a total of $114.9 billion by 2021, she explains.

The local MP notes she can’t see a difference between the new Infrastructure Bank and the Public-Private Partnership (P3) arrangement her previous Conservative government had in place.

However, folks in rural communities might be disappointed if they believe their infrastructure needs will be funded by the newly announced $35-billion infrastructure bank, she adds.

The Liberals’ offering a low-risk loan bank to attract investors is geared to moving trade across the country and will target bigger projects – not rural infrastructure, such as smaller roads and bridges, McLeod says.

“What does concern me … is they have rerouted significant infrastructure dollars.

“For small communities with significant needs, I am hoping [these] are not forgotten when they look at infrastructure banks because those are not going to be looking at small projects in small communities.”

McLeod says this growing deficit for “structural spending” is all about paying for new programs and services in perpetuity, not just infrastructure costs – such as funding a bridge built for perhaps $50 million – that lasts for decades.

“This is not targeted stimulus. It’s mistakes they made in terms of their tax cut they gave everyone – they didn’t estimate it [correctly].”

The Liberal’s middle-class tax cut was supposed to be revenue-neutral, she notes.

“It’s not revenue neutral. It’s a billion dollars, and [that cost] is going to stay with us forever.”

McLeod adds the Liberals had pledged to Canadians that if their government created a deficit through spending, they were also going to create jobs, yet the latest report shows “they haven’t created a single job.”

“There is no plan to get back to balanced budget.

“They don’t seem to have any fiscal anchor, they just seem to be willing to spend taxpayers’ dollars, which ultimately is going to be our grandchildren’s [debt].”