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Trudeau should follow Ford’s lead and scrap alcohol tax hike

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From the Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Author: Franco Terrazzano 

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is applauding the Ontario government’s move to freeze beer taxes and calling on the federal government to do the same.

“It’s good to see the Ford government providing relief and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should do the same and scrap his upcoming alcohol tax hike,” said Franco Terrazzano, CTF Federal Director. “Canadians are struggling with affordability so at the very least Trudeau shouldn’t be making life more expensive with tax hikes.”

Today, the Ontario government announced it’s freezing its beer taxes and LCBO mark-up rates that were scheduled to increase this March. Ontario’s beer tax freeze will be in place until March 1, 2026.

Since Nov. 1, 2018, the Ontario government has cancelled scheduled beer basic tax and LCBO mark-up increases.

The federal government is scheduled to increase its excise tax by 4.7 per cent on April 1. First passed in the 2017 federal budget, its alcohol escalator tax automatically increases federal excise taxes on beer, wine and spirits every year by the rate of inflation, without a vote in Parliament.

“Premier Doug Ford is doing the right thing by freezing beer taxes,” said Jay Goldberg, CTF Ontario Director. “Ontarians are struggling with the high cost of living and Ford is showing leadership by freezing taxes.”

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Trudeau pledges another $3 billion to Ukraine, including $4 million for ‘gender and diversity’

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From LifeSiteNews

By Clare Marie Merkowsky

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has sent Ukraine over $13.3 billion, including $4 billion in direct military assistance since 2022.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is sending another 3 billion taxpayer dollars to Ukraine, including $4 million for a “gender and diversity” initiative in the embattled country. 

On February 24, Trudeau’s office announced $3.02 billion in funding for Ukraine as it continues its war against Russia, including millions of taxpayer dollars to promote “gender-inclusive demining.” 

“Canada will provide critical financial and military support to Ukraine in 2024, including new financial support for Ukraine to meet its balance of payments and budgetary needs and stabilize its economy,” a press release promised, without explaining why it’s Canada’s role to prop up Ukraine’s economy.   

Within the 2024 funds, Trudeau promised $4 million to promote “gender-inclusive demining for sustainable futures in Ukraine.” However, the government failed to explain what gender or diversity have to do with demining, and how it is in the interest of the Canadian taxpayer to fund ideologically driven initiatives in foreign countries. 

“This project from the HALO Trust aims to safeguard the lives and livelihoods of Ukrainians, including women and internally displaced persons, by addressing the threat of explosive ordnance present across vast areas of the country,” the press release said.  

“Project activities include conducting non-technical surveys and subsequent manual clearance in targeted communities; providing capacity building to key national stakeholders; and establishing a gender and diversity working group to promote gender-transformative mine action in Ukraine,” it added.  

Additionally, $1.5 million is being given to the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining to “enhance the capacity of Ukrainian mine action institutions to implement effective and gender-responsive mine action operations, develop country-appropriate information management solutions, and lead efficient mine action donor coordination platforms.”  

Since the Russia-Ukraine war began in 2022, Canada has given Ukraine over $13.3 billion, including $4 billion in direct military assistance.   

Trudeau’s ongoing funding for Ukraine comes as many Canadians are struggling to pay for basics such as food, shelter, and heating. According to a recent government report, fast-rising food costs in Canada have led to many people feeling a sense of “hopelessness and desperation” with nowhere to turn for help. 

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Canadians in three provinces will spend roughly the same on debt interest as K-12 education

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From the Fraser Institute

By Grady Munro and Jake Fuss

From 2008/09 to 2023/24, the federal government is projected to have run deficits every single year, with no interruptions. This has resulted in federal net debt (total debt minus financial assets) increasing by $603.6 billion (inflation-adjusted).

For more than a decade, Canadian governments have increasingly relied on borrowed money to fund their excessive spending habits. However, as debt has continued to pile up so have the costs associated with this debt—namely interest costs. A recent study shows that in some of the largest provinces, governments now spend nearly as much or more on debt interest costs than on K-12 education.

Since the 2008/09 financial crisis, governments across Canada have fallen into the habit of utilizing debt to fund their spending habits. For example, consider the federal government.

From 2008/09 to 2023/24, the federal government is projected to have run deficits every single year, with no interruptions. This has resulted in federal net debt (total debt minus financial assets) increasing by $603.6 billion (inflation-adjusted). Conversely, from 1996/97 to 2007/08, the federal government actually lowered its net debt by $348.1 billion (inflation-adjusted). Clearly, there’s been a shift in the government’s approach towards debt accumulation.

This is not simply a federal problem, as provinces have also seen their debt burdens rise as well. Cumulatively, provincial and federal net debt has increased by $1.0 trillion (inflation-adjusted) from 2007/08 to 2023/24.

Government debt carries costs, primarily in the form of the interest payments, which represent money that doesn’t go towards paying down the actual debt amount, nor does it go towards providing government services or tax relief. And since governments must utilize tax revenues to pay interest, taxpayers are ultimately on the hook for servicing government debt.

But how much do Canadians actually pay in debt interest costs?

Using data from the most recent fiscal updates, a new study compares combined (federal and provincial) debt interest costs for residents in three of the largest provinces (OntarioQuebec and Alberta) with what those provinces expect to spend on K-12 education in 2023/24. The study utilizes combined debt interest costs because Canadians are ultimately responsible for interest costs incurred by both the federal government and the province in which they live. The following chart summarizes the comparisons from the study.

As is clear from the chart, combined interest costs for residents in these provinces are nearly as much or more than their province expects to spend on K-12 education in 2023/24. Specifically, combined interest costs are $31.5 billion for Ontarians, which is only $3.2 billion less than the province will spend on K-12 education in 2023/24. Combined interest costs for Quebecers ($20.3 billion) will actually exceed the $19.9 billion the province will devote towards K-12 education. And combined interest costs for Albertans are only slightly lower than the $8.9 billion that will be spent on K-12 education.

In other words, taxpayers in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta are paying nearly as much or more to service federal and provincial government debt than they are paying to fund K-12 education in their province. This budget season, it’s important to remember the costs associated with growing government debt.

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