Justin Trudeau Canadian Multiculturalism Day systemic racism

Justin Trudeau: “We took on debt so Canadians wouldn’t have to.”

“What would Canadians have done if the federal government hadn’t taken on debt?”

In a press conference this morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke about the expected budget deficit following months of spending on COVID-19 relief. This comes ahead of Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s “fiscal snapshot” announcement this afternoon.

The government, Trudeau says, had no choice but to bring in the various support programs like the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS).

“We made a very specific and deliberate choice throughout this pandemic to help Canadians, to recognize that, overnight, people had lost their jobs and found themselves in a precarious situation and needed support. So as a federal government, given the historical low interest rates and low debt servicing costs that we have, and given our extremely strong fiscal position going in, we decided to take on the debt to prevent Canadians from having to do it. If the federal government hadn’t taken on significant debt, in order to send money to Canadians, to support businesses and households, then what would Canadians have done? They would’ve loaded up their credit cards. They would’ve scrambled to try to find ways to pay their bills, pay their groceries and figure out how to care for their loved ones. We took on debt so Canadians wouldn’t have to. And we can be confident about our position because it worked to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and we now have the spread largely under control, although we need to continue to be vigilant.

“We went into this challenge with a far better fiscal position than many of our allies around the world, which allows us to come through it in a very strong way. And we know that by supporting Canadians through this pandemic, we maximize our chances of getting back on our feet as quickly as possible as an economy. I know there are people out there who say that we should’ve done less. But I think that’s wrong. Now is the time for the federal government to step up and help Canadians during a historic crisis and that’s exactly what we did. And having done that has allowed us to get the virus more under control and is allowing us to restart the economy in a strong position, unlike many of our other allies.” ■

For more news updates, please visit our News section.