How do we pay the mortgage?

It would have helped last week if finance minister Bill Morneau had paid some attention to the deficit side of our financial snapshot. The problem is that to many Canadians the figures he was discussing were unfathomable. The average citizen does not think of money in billions and trillions. Reality to most of us is the cost of a coffee at Tim’s or a loaf of bread at Loblaws. And politicians need to remember it.

Mr. Morneau and the liberal government have taken out a sizeable mortgage on Canada to get us through this pandemic and we are still in the woods on this situation. There will be more debt piled on before this is over. We will need more backstopping to keep our economy from collapsing. We will need fresh funds to replace old economic activities and kick start new activities.

And nobody is fooling themselves that some of our old economic segments are going to bounce back soon. Air travel is not going to suddenly take off. The oil sector is last year. Cars are going electric. Canada needs non-polluting, high-speed electric trains. Our spending will continue.

In this new era, we are not only going to be paying down this hefty mortgage, we are going to have to make sure the payments are a shared responsibility. We need to put back the two per cent Stephen Harper took from our GST. As long as we rebate it to those on a low income and not charge it on food, it is fair.

But we also have to tax the rich more efficiently. There are too many tax loopholes for the wealthy and too much money being hidden off-shore. Canadians have to demand that taxation is fair.

Luckily, nobody need be in a rush to pay. The low cost of borrowing is working for us at this time. We need to remember though that there is no free lunch. Canada is a great country and it is worth every penny it costs us.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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