Morneau’s remarks likely reflect growing concern among ‘Business Liberals,’ who are watching Trudeau take their party farther and farther to the left.
When he left politics, Bill Morneau was a controversial figure.
Many – myself included – criticized Morneau over various ethical issues, and he was the face of a Liberal economic program that included higher deficits than promised.
However, in a sign of how dramatically Justin Trudeau is pushing the Liberal Party to the radical left, Morneau is now almost a voice of reason as he warns about the lack of growth and competitiveness in this country.
In a speech at the C.D. Howe Institute, Morneau detailed his concerns about the Liberal government putting politics ahead of economic growth:
“I struggled to get our government to focus on the need for sustained economic growth, because it was constantly crowded out by other things that seemed more politically urgent, even if they weren’t truly as important.”
Morneau also offered a mix of praise amid the criticism:
“In the speech, he said the government did produce a number of successes. The reduction of child poverty under the Liberals, progress on the climate-change file, sustaining high immigration levels and renegotiating the North American free trade agreement topped Morneau’s list of wins.
Trudeau’s team fell short, however, on steps to boost Canada’s long-term growth prospects. Morneau cited numbers that show the nation is a laggard on productivity and business investment. The administration put little priority on “increasing our collective prosperity,” he said, being instead more focused on wealth redistribution issues.”
The former Liberal Finance Minister expressed a pessimistic outlook:
“When I look at politics in Canada today — from the perspective of a former insider — I have to confess that I’m much more worried about our economic prospects today, in 2022, than I was seven years ago.”
Dissent among ‘Business Liberals’?
It’s easy to forget, but the Liberals were once a fiscally responsible party.
In the Chretien-Martin years, the party sought balanced budgets, and was often willing to cut federal spending in order to get Canada’s debts and deficits under control.
Ironically, that move towards fiscal responsibility was itself a reaction to the devastating long-term impact of Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s stunningly irresponsible economic policies.
Now, another Trudeau has completely abandoned any sense of fiscal responsibility.
This raises the question of whether the so-called ‘Business Liberals’ will continue to support the party.
The fact is, someone who is business and growth focused, who wants lower taxes, and believes in fiscal responsibility would have much more in common with a Conservative Party led by Pierre Poilievre than they do in the Trudeau Liberal Party.
Combined with Trudeau’s deal with Jagmeet Singh, and it’s clear that the Liberal Party is increasingly becoming a far-left institution, the kind of place that is unwelcoming to those who support economic growth.
Thus, Morneau’s criticism of Trudeau’s policies likely reflects deepening and growing divisions within the Liberal Party, divisions the Conservatives can take advantage of if they embrace fiscal responsibility and limited government.
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