Does fiscal restraint and aggressive investment belong in the same sentence? Probably not, but according to Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, the two paradoxical phrases will unanimously encompass the Liberals’ entire upcoming economic plan.
In a pre-budget speech before the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Oshawa, Ontario on Monday, Freeland hinted the Liberal government will mirror the Biden administration’s colossal investments in green infrastructure, because it would be “reckless” not to do so. “Canada right now is really at a crucial crossroads. This is a moment when the great economies of the world have decided to embrace the clean economy,” she later explained to reporters.
“We also can invest aggressively in the clean economy of the 21st century in a smart, focused Canadian way— or we can be left behind,” she continued. “Not making those investments is also a choice. And a choice, I believe, would be really irresponsible, really reckless.”
Freeland’s comments provide a vague glimpse into next week’s highly anticipated budget plan, which, according to unnamed sources, supposedly also includes a 30% investment tax credit for rare mineral mining and processing equipment.
Freeland’s comments correspond to extensive green energy initiatives in America’s Inflation Reduction Act unveiled last year, that include billions of dollars worth of subsidies. Although the Finance Minister failed to provide further spending details feeding the Liberals’ obsession with green energy, she insisted that fiscal prudence will be synonymously practiced as well. “Investments in our economic capacity are fiscally responsible,” she explained to reporters. In addition to previously announced increases for healthcare funding, the Liberals’ budget will provide a “narrowly focused” boost in financial supports for low-income Canadians facing elevated inflation.
“Taken together, inflation and higher interest rates are really challenging for a lot of people,” Freeland said during a news conference earlier this month. “That means that one of my government’s principal responsibilities, and one of my principal responsibilities, is not to pour fuel on the flames of inflation. I think we all want to get past this as quickly as we can. So fiscal responsibility is really important.”
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