Under Conservative and Liberal Governments, Canada’s debt has ballooned to over $670 billion. In the next five years, the interest on that debt alone will be almost $40 billion. Being indebted to other nations also makes our political decision makers vulnerable to international pressure. Back in 1994, the International Monetary Fund report to Canada recommended that our government reduce the number of hospital beds and convert student grants to interest-bearing loans. The government of the day did as they were told, slashing 10% of hospital beds the following year. How exactly does that benefit the people of Canada? Canada should instead review the options for interest-free borrowing from our public central bank. Historically, the Bank of Canada was used to fund all of our great infrastructure projects, including both the Trans-Canada Highway and the St. Lawrence Seaway. Borrowing from the Bank of Canada interest-free and in times of need will lessen our dependence on foreign creditors and private banks.
The Green Party does not believe in increasing debt and the burden it creates for future generations. The Green Party is committed to lowering the $15 billion federal deficit with the goal of achieving a balanced budget and beginning to pay off our massive federal debt. We will ensure this is done in a way that is slow and responsible, taking great care not to cut our healthcare or social programs. We will also make sure that we do not fix our balance sheet by privatizing our bridges, waterworks or critical infrastructure. We will not fix our debt by downloading responsibilities to other levels of government, thereby just shifting the burden. What we do is first ensure that what we want to spend is fiscally possible. To achieve this, election platforms should always be fully costed.
It’s easy to promise the world when you don’t know how you will pay for it. Elizabeth May has always voluntarily submitted all Green Party election platforms for review to the independent parliamentary budget office. This is the best way to ensure that what we are proposing is not only realistic but achievable.
Previous governments have spent tremendous amounts of money in a seemingly endless string of corporate handouts. In 2018, the Public Accounts of Canada report revealed that the Harper government had failed to collect $2.6 billion in debt owed by Chrysler Canada. More recently, Trudeau has come under fire for the Liberals’ $12 million gift to grocery giant Loblaws: a company run by one of the richest families in Canada, that has avoided more than $435 million in tax, and was recently found guilty of fixing the price of bread.
A Green Government will put an end to this waste of public money. We will ensure that the Government starts spending money ethically and responsibly. We will always make sure public money is spent on the public good, for the benefit of both people and planet.