As Economy Worsens, The Liberals & NDP Are Increasingly Disconnected From Canadians

Reality has a way of intruding on ideological obsessions.

The Liberal-NDP pact demonstrates both Justin Trudeau and Jagmeet Singh doubling-down on an approach that sees government spending as the solution to every problem.

It’s a deeply ideological approach, one that the Liberals have embraced regardless of the status of the economy.

When they were handed a relatively strong economy and a balanced budget by the Harper government, the Trudeau cabinet chose to run deficits that were larger than what they promised.

They also abandoned their pledge to balance the budget after three years.

Long before covid, the Liberals embarked on a big-government approach that increased taxes and ramped up spending year after year.

As a result, Canada was already facing budget deficits and a weakening economy before the covid crisis hit, and that crisis further damaged the economy and saw an explosion of debt.

The federal NDP had been heading towards a more middle-of-the road approach under Tom Mulcair, pledging in 2015 to keep the budget balanced. But, once Mulcair was deposed the party went in a much more socialist direction under Jagmeet Singh.

At nearly every turn, Singh has supported Trudeau’s agenda, and has provided weak opposition (at best), often criticizing Trudeau and then backing his every move.

With a formal pact between the two parties, the Liberals & NDP have tried to lock Canada into a very ideological agenda.

Interestingly, some Liberal MPs seem less than happy with the arrangement, saying they weren’t consulted and the party could be ceding the center.

This makes sense, given that there is a subset of Liberal MPs who are clearly uncomfortable with the increasingly ideological bent of their party. The Liberals were once a party that adhered to the traditional idea of Liberalism, emphasizing personal freedom, limited government power, and fiscal responsibility. The Liberals still benefit from their historic brand, despite the leadership of the party having mostly abandoned those values under Justin Trudeau.

A worsening economy

As noted above, Canada’s economy has been struggling for some time.

Now, with the carbon tax going up, and inflation surging, Canadians are seeing the damage that occurs when a government puts ideology ahead of adapting to reality.

A new survey shows Canadians priorities for the upcoming budget are quite different than what the Liberals & NDP plan to pursue.

According to the latest Ipsos poll, Canadians cite the need for help with the rising cost of living and the need for tax cuts as their two highest demands.

When asked to pick their top three priorities, 53% of Canadians said “help with the soaring cost of every day needs due to inflation.”

43% said lowering taxes.

40% said greater investments in healthcare.

The next three priorities were reducing government spending (21%), measures to cool the housing market (21%), and reducing the deficit (20%).

Liberal & NDP priorities far down the list.

In that survey, only 16% of Canadians listed “spending to support the transition to greener energy” as a top-three priority, and 11% said “incentives for Canadians to lower their carbon footprint” as a top-three priority.

It is quite notable that support for reducing government spending and reducing the deficit are both higher than the green transition and lowering our carbon footprints.

Canadians are clearly reacting to the reality we face in a world where prices are surging, our European allies are beholden to Russia for energy supplies, and dreams of economic prosperity appear to be receding.

Canadians recognize that now is not the time for an ideological approach to government, and now is not the time to ignore reality.

Instead, now is the time for our country to reverse the growth in the size of government, get government spending under control, move towards sound money to stop the debasing of our currency, and lower taxes so that Canadians have more money in their pockets.

Putting the good of the country ahead of ideology

The results of the Ipsos survey indicated quite clearly that the Liberal & NDP pact is based upon an agenda that is out of step with what Canadians desire.

The question now is whether the Liberals & NDP will realize this, and adjust course.

I have no doubt that there are some Liberal MPs who would be glad to see the government change course, and return to a more pragmatic, reality-based stance.

Given what we’ve seen so far, it appears far more likely that Trudeau & Singh will instead choose to ignore reality.

This ‘ignore the world around us’ strategy was already evident in how the Trudeau government did not put forth a large-scale effort to expand our energy sector in response to the needs of our European allies, and in response to the needs of Canadians as energy prices skyrocketed.

At the very least, freezing the carbon tax to stop the April 1st increase would represent a ‘do no harm’ approach by the government recognizing that Canadians simply cannot afford it. Of course, scrapping it would be even better in that regard.

So far though, none of that is happening.

This is bad news for Canadians, since it means we are not only facing the difficult headwinds of global events, but we are being hampered by a government that feels entitled to impose its ideological agenda at the worst possible moment.

An opening for reality based leaders

There are moments in history when a more progressive approach may be called for. There also moments when a return to basic conservative (or classically liberal) principles of limited government and fiscal responsibility are needed.

Clearly, we are in the latter moment, not the former.

The leaders who are remembered most positively in history are those who can recognize what moment the world and their country are in, and respond accordingly.

At this time, Canada lacks such leaders, at least among those at the top of the Trudeau-Singh pact.

Thus, attention will increasingly focus on the CPC leadership race, to see who can best understand and respond to the world as it is.

As I’ve said before, I think that Pierre Poilievre is currently doing that the best, given how he is applying core principles in a way that adapts to the modern world. As the CPC leadership race continues, we must hope that the party will emerge with a leader who can respond to the deeply difficult challenges facing our country, and who can listen to the concerns of the Canadian People and help our country survive and thrive in the future.

Spencer Fernando

Photo – YouTube


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