Souris-Moose Mountain MP Robert Kitchen views the federal budget as a “massive letdown for Saskatchewan.”
The federal Liberal government released the budget, its first in two years, on April 19. Kitchen said it’s short-sighted, because it doesn’t factor in the impact the government spending will have on people of southeast Saskatchewan for years to come.
“Ultimately what it shows is they finally gave us the number that they spent over and above what it takes to run the country last year. That deficit was $354 billion (in 2020-21). They’re projecting that this year’s budget (deficit), for 2021-22, will be $154 billion,” said Kitchen.
In two years, the Liberals will have added $500 billion to Canada’s national debt.
Kitchen believes the budget does nothing for the natural resources or the oil and gas sectors, and provides no incentive for foreign investment into Canadian energy.
There’s $100 million for agriculture, but Kitchen said the budget says further announcements will come later. As for $50 million for farmers to purchase more energy-efficient grain dryers, that money is too late, and farmers have been calling for it for years.
“Our farmers have been doing tremendous jobs at putting forward plans on how to sequester things into the ground,” said Kitchen.
Also in the budget is a commitment to carbon capture and storage, which Kitchen said is great, but the MP warned the money won’t be used for enhanced oil recovery.
“Ultimately they’re playing words to it, but they’re not doing anything about it,” said Kitchen.
The U.S. has tax credits being given for carbon capture that will be used for enhanced oil recovery.
He is pleased to see money for the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) at the University of Saskatchewan. When he was on the federal health committee, VIDO came and made a presentation at the start of the pandemic. They were looking for funds, and Kitchen said VIDO is doing great work on vaccines.
“We’re seeing here in Saskatchewan some great technology that we have with the innovation we have at the University of Saskatchewan,” said Kitchen.
Kitchen wanted to see the budget focus on getting the economy back and creating jobs, and he said this is an election budget, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau trying to spend money every way he can in an effort to build support from the public.
The budget has survived three confidence votes in the House of Commons.