Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in March became the first leader in a generation to plunge the federal government into deficit without remorse. He would still like you to consider him a fiscal conservative. “One of the things that is important to me is fiscal responsibility,” Trudeau told Bloomberg a week before Finance Minister Bill Morneau tabled his first budget.
The prime minister will struggle to convince people of his concern for the sanctity of the public purse. His decision to drop the eligibility for collecting old age security benefits from 67 to 65 was foolish, not fiscally responsible. Almost every neutral expert who has considered how to save the public retirement system concludes that future generations should wait longer for their benefits. Few governments have managed to make such a change; Trudeau had it handed to him but opted to backtrack. It undermines his claim to being an “evidence-based” policy-maker.
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