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Former Bank of Canada Head Predicts Upcoming Budget Will Be the Worst, Tories Call for Spending Halt

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has criticized the upcoming federal budget for its tens of billions in new spending, which he warned would continue increasing inflation for Canadians. His comments come as a former Bank of Canada governor says the upcoming budget “is likely to be the worst” at a time of high interest rates.

“My message to Justin Trudeau is this, in one word: stop,” Mr. Poilievre told reporters April 16 on Parliament Hill.

“Stop doubling housing costs, stop taxing our farmers and food when our single moms and seniors are going hungry, stop the inflationary deficits that are driving up interest rates and forcing Canadians to lose their homes.”

Mr. Poilievre said life for Canadians has become unaffordable under the Liberal government’s high taxes and spending and argued the upcoming budget would exacerbate existing issues.

“Over the last several weeks, he has been pouring fuel, and not water, on the inflationary fire that he lit, with tens of billions of dollars of new spending for the same old programs that caused the misery in the first place,” Mr. Poilievre said.

Mr. Trudeau and his ministers have announced nearly $40 billion in new government spending, much of it going toward tackling the housing crisis, in a series of announcements in the weeks leading up to budget day. The new policies include a $6 billion investment in housing infrastructure, a $1.5 billion rental fund to keep rents affordable, and $600 million in loans and funding to build homes.

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The Liberals have also promised to boost military spending by another $8.1 billion over the next five years, to invest $2.4 billion to build artificial intelligence capacity, to spend $1 billion over the next five years on a national school food program to deliver meals to 400,000 additional children, and to give more than $1 billion in low-cost loans and grants to expand child care across the country.

Younger Canadians are struggling with a cost-of-living crisis and high housing prices and rental costs, Mr. Trudeau said in an April 16 speech to the Chamber of Commerce.

“They now feel like middle-class stability is out of reach,” he said. “That can’t be allowed to happen. Our country cannot succeed unless young people succeed.”

Warning From Former Bank of Canada Governor

Mr. Poilievre highlighted warnings from former Bank of Canada Governor David Dodge, who claimed in a recent CTV News interview that the upcoming budget was “likely to be the worst” since 1982, when then-Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau tabled a budget that had high spending and taxation at a time of high interest rates and inflation.

Mr. Poilievre said that similar to his father, Mr. Trudeau was doubling down on “the costly failures that have left Canadians hungry and without homes.” He added that while it appeared there would be an election in the latter half of 2025, there was still another “year and a half where Canadians have to find a way to survive.”

He also accused the Liberals of having raised taxes on middle-class Canadians with the April 1 increase of the federal carbon tax, “that makes every middle-class family pay more than they get back in rebates.” He cited a Parliamentary Budget Officer’s March 2023 analysis that found the average family would pay up to $911 from the carbon tax after rebates had been accounted for.

The Conservative leader reiterated his promise to bring down costs by getting rid of the carbon tax, reducing the size of government, by mandating a dollar of savings is brought in for every dollar of new spending, and requiring cities to permit 15 percent more home building as a condition of receiving federal funding.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland will table the budget April 16 at 4 p.m.

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