Morneau: the angst of things to come.

Are you ready for the flip side of the pandemic coin? Finance Minister Bill Morneau has promised Canadians a financial snapshot of what the pandemic has cost. The bad news is to be presented on July 8. I wonder though if he will recognize the value we have been getting for the money spent and what future expenditures can achieve.

A hint of what our more neoliberal finance minister intends is his comment to a Toronto Star reporter that he wants to impose some fiscal discipline going forward. He says there is a need to ‘reset.’

The concern is that the finance minister might be more interested in solving business needs than those of individual Canadians. Despite the Trudeau government’s frequently stated concern for the vaguely described ‘middle class,’ our finance minister appears to lack any knowledge of what that means. Born to wealth and privilege, neither Morneau nor Justin Trudeau seem to know much about the middle class or the strains of poverty.

With a deficit heading toward $250 billion in this pandemic year, we have been in serious danger of the neoliberals taking charge of our finances and cutting the country off from the expenditures needed to get our economy growing again. It is quite unlikely that Canada would suffer any great concerns with doubling that deficit.

What we have proved in building the deficit is that a balanced budget is a myth spread by conservatives and neoliberals. Federal deficits are the same concept as a homeowner having a mortgage. Nobody expects it to be paid off in one year.

If, for example, the federal government decided to fund a cross-Canada high-speed electric train service, that would hardly be paid for in the same year as the expense. It would do wonders for the Canadian economy and it would promote Canadian tourism and cross-country travel as well as speed the transport of goods. It would be important to bringing Canada out of any possible recession after the pandemic has run its course.

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