World

Trudeau Won’t Say If He Will Ever Balance The Budget

REUTERS/Chris Wattie

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief

In a Tuesday morning news conference from Ottawa, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau refused to say if he ever plans to balance the budget.

Responding to a question as to when he plans to “get rid of the deficit,” Trudeau responded: “We recognized during the election campaign…that something had to change. Middle-class Canadians didn’t feel good about their children’s future. We made the decision that instead of balancing the books, arbitrarily, we would grow the economy.”

Despite recently establishing a record as the prime minister who spends more money per capita than any other, Trudeau insisted, “We’re always going to be fiscally responsible with the decisions that we make. That approach is going to be consistent with what Canadians need.”

The news conference was largely self-congratulatory as he outlined what he said were his Liberal government’s accomplishments during the last two years, opening his remarks with the statement, “We’ve done even more to help middle class folks.” Parliament adjourns at the end of this week for a summer recess and Trudeau says his caucus is “anxious to get back to their ridings” to share the alleged accomplishments of the Liberal government.

Trudeau listed one of those accomplishments as helping to alleviate the opioid crisis in many Canadian cities because his government has “made it easier for communities to apply for safe consumption sites.”

It was the first use of the term “safe consumption sites” by the government, which usually refers to these centers, where heroin addicts can legally use illegal drugs as “supervised injection sites.” Despite Trudeau’s insistence that the centers are reducing opioid overdoses, Vancouver leads the country in opioid-related deaths and was the first city in North America to operate a drug injection site.

Trudeau also addressed the record-setting kill by a Canadian Army special forces soldier last week who shot dead an ISIS insurgent in Iraq. One reporter described the incident as a “murder” and though Trudeau did not correct the journalist, he said the action was consistent with Canada’s mission in Iraq. “What happened there is something to be celebrated,” Trudeau said, “and entirely consistent with what Canadians expect our forces to be doing.”

When asked if he had any regrets that he broke his promise to implement electoral reform in Canada, Trudeau argued that there was “no openness for compromise” and that the official opposition Conservatives wanted “the status quo” while the left-wing New Democratic Party “only wanted proportional representation.” He said, “I think proportional representation would be bad for Canada…It would lead to a fragmentation of parties.”

The prime minister congratulated the media present at the news conference, saying, “Thank you, all of you, for your hard work. The back and forth between the media and any government is essential to any democracy. Thank you for your tireless work on behalf of Canadians.”

 

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