by stephen Dafoe
The end of temporary COVID-19 subsidies, announced by the federal government, receives some praise from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation Thursday.
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said existing programs will not be renewed when they expire on Saturday, Oct 23. Instead, the feds will introduce some targeted programs costing $7.9 billion over the next seven months as opposed to the $289 billion spent to date.
“Reining in the COVID-19 spending is a good first step towards taking the $1-trillion federal debt seriously,” said CTF Federal Director Franco Terrazzano in a media release Thursday morning. “Taxpayers need to see more details, but Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland deserves credit for acknowledging these subsidies were always supposed to be temporary.”
CTF has long criticized COVID-19 spending and its contribution to the national debt, which now exceeds $1 trillion.
“This extra spending was always sold to Canadians as temporary supports and taxpayers can’t afford for these programs to become permanent red ink,” Terrazzano said. “Reining in the temporary COVID-19 borrowing and making sure this spending is more targeted and less expensive is a good first step.”
Targeted federal programs for the coming months will focus on hotels, restaurants and travel agencies still affected as well as commercial rent costs for employers who can demonstrate significant losses. Another program will address those who could be affected by additional lockdowns.