Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s 2018 federal budget offers nothing for national defense but does promise $173.2 million to help process “irregular migration” at the border. “Irregular migration” is how the Liberal government refers to the wave of illegal refugees that came across the U.S.-Canada border throughout 2017.
The budget, entitled “Equality Growth,” delivered Tuesday afternoon by Finance Minister Bill Morneau, promises another $18 billion deficit in spending by his Liberal government on a host of projects ranging from a subsidized universal pharmacare plan to initiatives to achieve equal pay for equal work for women.
There is no indication when or if the federal government plans to balance its books. Morneau told the House of Commons that he is not prepared to offer any significant personal or corporate income tax cuts — like the ones introduced by President Donald Trump — “just yet.” He prefers to “wait and see” how those tax reductions work.
Official opposition Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, both in the lobby of Parliament Hill and on Twitter Tuesday night lamented the red ink in the document:
“Bill Morneau spoke for 36 minutes introducing #Budget2018. During that time, Canada’s National Debt increased by $1,440,000. With another $18+ billion in deficit spending this year alone, never has a government spent so much to achieve so little.”
There is no reference to national defense in any of the 369 pages. The budget virtually ignore national security in general, providing $172.3 million “to support security operations at the Canada-U.S. border and the processing of asylum claimants arriving in 2018-19. Funding would be used to manage the increased number of people seeking asylum in Canada this year.”
Although the goverment is promising to boost the funding of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) by $80 million in this fiscal year, it is allocating $10 million of that for “addressing ‘unfounded’ cases of sexual assault.” The government is ordering the RCMP to re-examine all of its sexual assault cases going back to 2015 — just in case they didn’t reach the correct conclusion.
The budget contains a host of social planning initiatives all supposedly designed to attain gender equality. One of these is a $10 million program to increase the representation of women in the construction industry. There is also $1.5 billion over the next five years “for additional support for the Feminist International Assisance Policy” that will ensure Canada’s overseas development assistance is in line with its pro-abortion policies at home.
Even though the government released a massive defense policy review last summer, the budget does not mention the military even in passing, prompting Conservative foreign affairs critic Erin O’Toole to remark on Twitter:
“From my preliminary review the @CanadianForces are not mentioned in #Budget2018. So much for Strong, Secured & Engaged…”