Justin’s magic bag of money.

Watching the daily news conference by the prime minister the other morning, I lost track of how much money he was promising. No doubt our news media people are keeping track. I was struck by the similarity to an election campaign without the opposition critics jumping on every announcement—to either better the offer or denounce it. It was as though the prime minister had a magic bag of money from which to draw the funds to solve all our problems.

This particular day was promises for our university students to keep them going through a summer when jobs will be scarce. The amounts were not all that generous, but by the time he had finished, some $9 billion had been lavished on Canada’s students.

As with all the aggressive spending to compensate people for the ravages of the coronavirus, there was the provision that the amounts had to be approved by parliament. Whether the opposition in the house of commons would suggest less than the government offered would be quite unlikely.

As it is, the government is constantly discovering people who have been missed by this program or that. The solution has been to simply add these people to the program and to worry later if the payment was really warranted.

This ‘by guess or by golly’ attitude is particularly applicable to the emergency response benefit package. Run through the Canada revenue agency, this is a very generous package. If you lost your job or even a potential job because of the coronavirus, you can apply for $500 per week for up to 16 weeks. To catch up with the program, this past week, people were receiving cheques for as much as $2000.

This just happens to be the amount that people who support the idea of a guaranteed minimum wage, think should be the starting amount for a national guaranteed minimum income program.

There is lots more money in Justin’s magic bag. At the end of his answering questions he was asked about what he intended to do for seniors. He said that is still to come!

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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