Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland delivers the federal budget as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on April 19 in the House of Commons in Ottawa. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland delivers the federal budget as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on April 19 in the House of Commons in Ottawa. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Debt is as out of control as virus

A ‘fiscal albatross’ has been slung around the necks of Canadians, says letter writer

To the editor,

In a weekend television interview, Canada’s finance minister expressed pride in her record-breaking first budget introduced in parliament a few days earlier. She stated smugly and sardonically that this year’s deficit of $354 billion compares favourably to the parliamentary budget officer’s earlier estimate of $360 billion. She nonchalantly shrugged off any questions concerning a balanced budget, when reminded that her projections for four years from now still show a deficit of about $36 billion. Our federal debt is now in excess of a trillion dollars for the first time, and thanks to the magic of compound interest that figure will increase each year as debt payments soar.

Nary a word about ways to feed the insatiable voracious appetite of the fiscal albatross that they have slung around the necks of Canadians. They refer to this budget as a way to post-pandemic prosperity, while others see it as a pre-election budget to tempt the electorate to vote Liberal. Some who have attended more than a few rodeos remember governments which got out of similar self-inflicted predicaments by cutting services and programs, or by raising taxes. Usually both of these unpopular measures are eventually taken, meaning that many golden promises are broken, of course.

Taxpayers are reluctant to believe what they are told by Ottawa, and are reminded of an off-beat Greek philosopher who lived about 2,500 years ago called Diogenes the Cynic. He carried a lamp around Athens in broad daylight looking for an honest man, and skeptics wonder if his reincarnation could ever find an honest politician in Ottawa.

Many believe that the prime minister yearns to engineer an election to regain a parliamentary majority, and would probably do so just as soon as 70 per cent of Canadians have received their second vaccination. He’ll figure that herd immunity would have been achieved, but with deadly variants flying around from hither, thither and yon, his dream of herd immunity may be as elusive as the balanced budget.

Bernie Smith, Parksville

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