Source: House of Commons (ParlVu)

The Liberal government’s 2024 federal budget proposes a sweeping $111.2 billion in new spending over the next five years, lacking any strategy to balance the budget.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland unveiled the Liberals’ 2024 budget in the House of Commons on Tuesday afternoon.

Many of the key components of this year’s budget had already been announced leading up to Tuesday. Such announcements included billions in new spending and loans, with a significant portion tied to addressing the housing shortage.

Several promises made leading up to the budget included initiatives to help renters improve their credit scores, modifications to savings plans and amortization rules, and billions of dollars in incentives designed to stimulate more home construction.

The federal government also announced a national lunch program, billions for child-care access, additional defence spending, still short of NATO’s target, and a new youth mental health fund.

Freeland pledged, before the budget’s announcement, that the deficit would not increase past its current level of -$40.1 billion. The deficit increased from -$35.3 billion to -$40 billion between 2022-23 and 2023-24.

The budget shows that the deficit will not be increased beyond its current level, but the federal debt as a % of GDP will increase from 42.4 to 42.7% between 2023-24 and 2024-25, decreasing slightly every year thereafter.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation said that spending will be increased, allowing debt interest charges to eat up $54 billion of the budget.

Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre said that the $40 billion in new deficits will result in Canadian taxpayers paying $2,400 per household in debt interest.

“Debt interest charges are costing taxpayers more than a billion dollars every week,” said Franco Terrazzano, CTF’s federal director.

“Massive deficits mean interest charges will cost taxpayers more than the feds send to the provinces in health transfers this year,” he added.

The Canada Health Transfer to provinces is $52.1 billion for 2024-25, compared to the $54.1 billion in interest charges for this fiscal year.

Canada’s total debt will reach more than $1.2 trillion this year. When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took power in 2015, the total debt was $616 billion. The debt has since doubled.

“Freeland promised Canadians she would find savings, but when you increase spending by more than $30 billion in one year, you’re saving money wrong,” said Terrazzano. “This government could win the lottery every day and it would still max out its credit card.”

The total expenses for 2023-24 will increase from $497.5 billion to $534.6 billion this year, an increase of $37.1 million, set to increase every year thereafter. The deficit is set to be $39.8 billion in 2024-25. Total expenses will increase to $608.7 billion by 2028-29, an increase of $111.2 billion in spending since fiscal year 2023-24, which ended Mar. 31.

“This government has no plan to balance the budget or save money,” said Terrazzano. “This government’s only plan is to take as much money from taxpayers as it can.”

After Freeland finished her monologue presenting the budget, Poilievre responded.

He explained that this is the ninth consecutive budget with a deficit, after Trudeau had promised that the budget would balance itself 

“Everything he’s spending on has gotten worse. He promised that the deficits would make housing affordable, but it ended up doubling the cost of rent and mortgage payments and down payments to buy a house. He said that the cost of food would be more affordable, and now it costs 30% more, and one in four children aren’t able to get nutritious meals,” said Poilievre.

“The government is rich, and the people are poor. And today, they’re going the same thing over again with $40 billion worth of inflationary deficit.”