The Trudeau government’s current policies are not aligned with the best interests of Canadians and are leading to economic decline

Roslyn KuninBy examining the challenges Canada faces and the Trudeau government’s responses, it is obvious that not only are the problems unsolved, but the government’s actions are actually making things worse.


Take the shortage of affordable housing. Canadian cities are among the most expensive places to live in the world. The logical solution would be to streamline regulations and requirements to make building houses easier, faster, and cheaper. Instead, the government decided to cut the number of foreign students allowed into Canada by half. This measure will not have an appreciable effect on the housing supply, as most foreign students live in student housing or share basement apartments.

Curtailing the number of foreign students coming to Canada will, however, hurt our balance of trade. Selling educational services to foreign students is an export, just as is selling wood products abroad, and foreign students have brought more money into Canada in a given year than softwood lumber. The cuts will also hurt educational institutions that rely on fees from foreign students to make up budget shortfalls that governments cannot fill. Foreign students also help solve Canada’s severe labour shortages by providing entry-level labour while they are students and valuable skills if they decide to stay here after graduation.

Labour shortages

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Labour shortages, mainly due to an aging population, are a serious problem for Canada. Paying pensions to a growing number of seniors is costly. With Canadians living longer and healthier lives, the obvious solution would be to raise the retirement age. Instead, the federal government is making it easier and more lucrative for some of the nearly 300,000 federal employees to retire early. This approach not only reduces the workforce and increases pension liabilities but also sets a precedent that may lead other civil servants and private sector workers to seek similar benefits.

Indigenous people

An often-stated government goal is to raise the standard of living for the Indigenous population to match that of other Canadians. A prime example of progress is the net pen fishery on the west coast of Vancouver Island. This initiative provides consistent employment for First Nations with limited alternatives and generates British Columbia’s largest food export. While net pens have presented challenges, such as sea lice potentially harming wild stocks, these issues are being dealt with. Moreover, the farmed output surpasses that of the wild catch.

What is the Trudeau government’s response to this success?

It has announced that it will shut down the net pen fish farms. The suggested alternative, closed pens in land-based fish farms, requires significant capital and relies on technologies that have not been tested on a large scale.

Standard of living

The goal of every democratic government is to improve, or at the very least maintain, the standard of living of its citizens. In Canada, however, per capita output is declining. We need to boost production to increase wealth, which requires investing in better and more capital. Investment is inherently risky, but businesspeople take these risks hoping to generate compensating gains.

The Trudeau government has done nothing to lower investment risks, but it has significantly reduced the rewards by increasing the taxable portion of capital gains. With some exceptions, two-thirds of capital gains will now be considered taxable income.

In the United States, the tax on capital gains is 20 percent. Studies there have shown that raising the rate to 25 percent would do more harm than good. Is it any wonder that investors are choosing to build up capital in the U.S. rather than Canada?

It is clear that the Trudeau government’s current policies are not aligned with the best interests of Canadians. Will it ever start implementing solutions that truly benefit the nation?

Dr. Roslyn Kunin is a Troy Media columnist, public speaker and consulting economist.

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