Mandate letter results so far: Finance Minister Bill Morneau
Finance Minister Bill Morneau takes questions as the Liberal cabinet meets in St. John's, N.L. on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
November 03, 2017 - 12:01 PM
OTTAWA - FINANCE
Finance Minister Bill Morneau cut federal income taxes on the middle bracket and raised the rate on income higher than $200,000 per year, cancelled an income-splitting measure for families with kids introduced by the Harper government and enhanced child-benefit payments. He expanded the Canada Pension Plan and created the Canada Infrastructure Bank. He announced a new rate-setting mechanism to ensure employment insurance premiums are no higher than needed to pay for the program over time, introduced a new tax benefit to help offset cost of school supplies for educators and repealed the Conservatives' Federal Balanced Budget Act.
Working on it
Morneau is still working to eliminate what he believes are unfair advantages for wealthy business owners. He unveiled a controversial tax reform plan this summer, causing an uproar that forced him to tweak and even back away from elements of the proposals. When it comes to his so-called fiscal anchors, Morneau appears on pace to continue reducing the federal debt-to-GDP ratio — a measure of the public debt burden — throughout the Liberal mandate.
Not at all, or at least not yet
Morneau has yet to introduce a 12-month holiday on employment insurance premiums for companies that hired new, younger workers into permanent jobs in 2016, 2017 and 2018. He has also yet to remove the GST on new capital investments in rental housing. Perhaps the most prominent vow the Liberals are unlikely to fulfil is their pledge to balance the budget by 2019-20. Last month, Morneau released his fall fiscal statement, which projected a $14.3-billion deficit for 2019-20, even though Canada's economic outlook has significantly improved.
Will it matter?
Morneau appears to have made considerable progress in meeting the goals outlined in his mandate letter. However, the Liberal government's fiscal path, which apparently won't include a return to balance by the end of its mandate, frequently comes under attack from the Conservatives. The lack of a timetable to eliminate the deficit has also been criticized by some economists, although other experts say the annual shortfalls are small enough that there's no rush to balance.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2017