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Liberals post record deficit as debt soars to $1.4 trillion

Chrystia Freeland said the deficit from last year will hit $354 billion with it budgeted to fall to $155 billion this fiscal year.

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Federal Liberal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland tabled her first budget Monday, a forecast that will see Canada go further into record debt with continuing pandemic spending programs, and a new federal daycare spending program

Freeland said the deficit from last year will hit $354 billion, with it budgeted to fall to $155 billion this fiscal year. The Liberals are planning on having a non-COVID deficit of $30.7 billion in 2025-26, however, so far the Liberals have not kept spending inside the limits of a single budget.

The total debt is expected to reach a new, all-time record of $1.4 trillion.

It is the first budget the Liberals have tabled in two years.

Total new spending in the first budget is to be $101.4 billion over the next three years.

The budget predicts federal debt will hit 51.2% of GDP in 2021-22 before sliding back to 49.2% of GDP by 2025-26

Freeland announced the Liberals are going to put $30 billion into a federal daycare program with $8.5 billion spent on it to be over the next 5 years. Social policies, like daycare, is an area of provincial jurisdiction.

By 2025, Freeland said all Canadians should be able to access $10-a-day care for their children. It’s unclear where the funding will come from for a program at that price. The budget proposes to create a 50% reduction in average fees for child care spaces by the end of 2022.

“The world has learned the lesson of 2009, the cost of allowing economic hardship to fester,” Freeland said.

“For some countries, democracy itself has been threatened by that mistake. We will not let that happen in Canada.

“We have to finish the fight against COVID, and that costs a lot of money.

“Extending these income and business support programs is absolutely essential — and it is expensive — but we know the country needs it.”

Seniors age 75 and older will get a one-time payment of $500 in August, and then a permanent 10% increase to benefits starting in July 2022.

The government will spend $595-million to set up the Canada Recovery Hiring Program that businesses can use instead of the wage subsidy to help cover the cost of hiring back workers. 

A new luxury sales tax is being placed on cars and personal aircraft worth over $100,000 and boats over $250,000

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, without seeing the 739-page budget, said his party will support it to avoid sending the country into a spring election.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) slammed what they said was the Trudeau government’s reckless plans to permanently increase federal government spending by nearly 30% by 2026. 

“Make no mistake: the vast majority of measures in this budget have nothing to do with pandemic supports, and everything to do with exploiting a deadly crisis to indulge in a cynical, debt-fueled spending binge,” said CTF Federal Director Franco Terrazzano.

“Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland will increase permanent federal spending by more than $100 billion by 2026 with absolutely no idea how to pay for it.”

Many of the new permanent measures announced in Budget 2021 were not even being considered prior to the pandemic.

“The Trudeau government now insists it has $30 billion to spend on a one-size-fits-all government daycare program?” said Terrazzano.

“If they understood we could not afford such an enormous new program when the deficit was only $20 billion, how can they claim with a straight face we can now afford it with the deficit at $354 billion?

“Whether before, during or after the pandemic, and whether the economy is growing or not, this government only seems to have one solution to everything: borrow more and spend more.”

Budget 2021 also projects that the federal deficit will still be $30 billion by 2026, when debt interest payments are projected to rise to $39 billion annually.

“By betting the house on ‘interest rates will stay low forever,’ Minister Freeland is playing roulette with Canada’s fiscal sustainability,” said Terrazzano.

In spite of pledging not to raise taxes, Budget 2021 also introduces a raft of new taxes and tax hikes, including higher tobacco taxes, a vaping tax, sales taxes for digital services, and a luxury goods tax.

Budget 2021’s only reference to spending restraint is a commitment to reduce government travel.

“Canadians shouldn’t kid themselves: either spending will have to be reined in, or there will be walloping tax hikes coming eventually,” said Terrazzano.

“In the meantime, the Trudeau government continues to kick the can down the road, leaving future generations to be stuck paying for their recklessness.”

...more to come

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard and the Vice-President: News Editor of Western Standard New Media Corp. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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Alberta gov’t granted injunction to ban weekend protest at Whistle Stop Cafe

Chris Scott and others, outraged by the province’s lockdown regulations, planned to protest the closure with a campout over the weekend adjacent to the restaurant.

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It hasn’t even happened yet, but an Alberta court has already ruled a weekend protest at the Whistle Stop Cafe is illegal.

The Court of Queen’s Bench has granted a pre-emptive injunction against, Chris Scott, the owner of Whistle Stop, because the restaurant plans to host a rally over the upcoming weekend called the “Save Alberta Campout Protest.” The injunction was granted at the request of Alberta Health Services (AHS), an agency under Health Minister Tyler Shandro.

Last week, the RCMP raided the establishment and carted away all its booze. On Wednesday, the RCMP and AHS officials showed up en masse and padlocked the building.

Undeterred, Scott continued cooking pancakes, making burgers and serving coffee to his customers in the parking lot outside his shuttered restaurant. The UCP government recently banned outdoor patio service for restaurants.

He and others, outraged by the province’s lockdown regulations, planned to protest the closure with a campout over the weekend adjacent to the restaurant.

But the AHS, which sought the injunction, said the judge ruled it illegal because it would not comply with public health restrictions on mandatory masking, attendance limits, and social distancing.

“The order restrains the owner and others from organizing, promoting and attending the event and includes police enforcement and imposes significant consequences on the organizers of this event,” AHS said in a statement to media.

“AHS has taken this step due to the ongoing risk to Albertans created by those breaching COVID-19 public health restrictions.”

The Western Standard has reached out to Scott but hasn’t heard back on what effect the injunction will have. Scott said earlier in the day he will now seek elected office by running for the Wildrose Independence Party in the upcoming 2023 election.

Scott is the only gas station or restaurant in Mirror, a town of about 500, 50 km northeast of Red Deer, and now he’s seeing people from all over the province stopping in.

“The law is garbage – it”s doing more harm than good,” said Scott in an earlier interview with the Western Standard.

“If they want to throw me in jail for trying to earn a living, go ahead,” said Scott.

Scott has owned the cafe since July 2019, but it has been a fixture in town since 1967.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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EXCLUSIVE: UCP Secretary quits over ‘lies’

Smith has worked with conservative parties since 1976.

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The former secretary of Alberta’s United Conservative Party (UCP) says she decided to resign from the board because she “was tired of all the lies.”

In an exclusive interview with the Western Standard, Cathy Smith said she handed in her notice on April 6, after a string of statements and actions about the COVID-19 pandemic by Premier Jason Kenney.

Smith said the beginning of the end started when Kenney held a press conference over COVID-19 and warned of a pandemic so extreme there would be “body bags coming out of McMahon Stadium.”

“I said to myself ‘Are you kidding me’. There will never be body bags coming out of McMahon Stadium,” said Smith.

“I know nurses. Nurses at the time told me there was nothing going on in their hospitals.”

Smith said Kenney then started to condemn the “right-wing, the conspiracy theorists.”

“I said wait a minute, I’m right-wing. And then the way we treated Dr. (Dennis) Modry. I thought this wasn’t the right way to represent our 40,000 members,” she said.

Kenney and Modry have been in a battle of letters. Modry published an open letter to the premier on the Western Standard saying lockdowns don’t work. The letter went viral and has been viewed hundreds of thousands of time. It took Kenney three months to reply with his own letter.

As party secretary, Smith dealt with more than 100 e-mails, either from party members or people who voted for the UCP, about how the lockdowns were affecting their lives.

“We had an e-mail from a family whose grandfather died because his heart operation had been postponed. I e-mailed everyone back. I explained I was not writing as a representative of the party. I told them I didn’t agree with what the party was doing,” Smith said.

Smith said she was aware of a group of men in Medicine Hat who went to high school together – 20 of whom have committed suicide since the pandemic started.

“I told everyone to get involved at the (constituency association) level if they really want to make change,” Smith said.

She said the last straw for her was when Kenney appeared on talk show host Danielle Smith’s last show on QR77 and said he wasn’t aware the party board had approved a leadership vote in 2022, just six months before the next election.

“I was just tired of all the lies, Kenney pretended he didn’t know about the leadership vote. I thought ‘This is not the way — where’s the trust’,” Smith said.

“I was tired of all the lockdowns (without proof they work). But I said to myself, I will never quit, never, never, never.”

Finally, after talking to several other board members, Smith handed in her notice.

Smith has worked with conservative parties since 1976. As to where she will vote in the next election: “I’m still waiting.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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WATCH: Alberta’s costume lady forced to sell treasure trove of outfits because of lockdowns

“Fifteen months later, there is no coming back.”

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It took Vickie Friesen more than 30 years of sewing to create 5,000 different costumes – everything from pirates to princesses.

Now, after a year of COVID-19 lockdowns, she is being forced to sell the lot.

Friesen and her husband, Darrell can no longer afford to keep their Three Hills Tickle Trunk outlet open and the business running after income vanished after lockdowns banned everything from school plays to Halloween.

Some of Vickie’s creations

“We just can’t afford to stay in business. There’s no theatre, there’s no parades, there’s no parties,” Vicki told the Western Standard on Thursday.

“In 2019, we were busy every week of the year with rentals. 2019 was booming. It was fabulous.

“Once word of our business got around, we started having the same customers repeated over and over. I started to ask customers to ask me what costumes we didn’t have, it was just easier.

“Now, nothing.”

Vicki recalled she sent out costumes for shows last March, but after the lockdowns, the costumes were returned and customers wanted their money back.

“Everything came back. I sat by the phone, but it didn’t ring anymore,” said Vicki.

Roman centurion outfit

“Fifteen months later, there is no coming back.”

The couple has made the heartbreaking decision they will have to sell all the costumes. A sale will be held at the store the next two Saturdays. A deal to sell their building should be signed next week.

All kid’s costumes will be sold for $10. Adult merchandise is 50% off, between $25 and $50 at their Three Hills store at 519 Main Street.

Need a storm trooper outfit? It will be there along with full ball gowns, Second World War uniforms and German lederhosen. Antique furniture is also on sale.

“They are all going for a song,” Vicki said, regret in her voice.

But some of the stuff they aren’t parting with includes all their Christmas outfits. The couple created a costumed “Christmas Convoy” through the town last year, and plan on repeating it, all over the province if asked.

Mr. and Mrs. Claus… really the Frieses

The couple did receive some federal COVID-19 aide which went to fixing a leak in the building, but not enough to even cover basic utilities.

Vickie proudly boast she has shipped her costumes all over the province: “From High Level to High Prairie.”

Tickle Trunk promo

She started sewing as a kid in Manitoba, creating costumes for theatre troupes and school plays. She also handmade graduation dresses for area high schoolers.

She stored her works of art in a 12×12 granary but it soon became full.

The Friesens and their two young children decided to move to Alberta and they set up shop in Three Hills, eventually buying a building in which to operate their business and store their dresses.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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