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Old 03-19-2019, 08:02 PM
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Your Thoughts on Canada Budget 2019


Another year, another budget. An open invitation for your thoughts and prayers.

In general, I would have liked the Liberals to hold to their election idea of keeping the budget below $10B. Times may get tougher, and some of the spending could probably be better planned. I believe the economic ideas showing ďdeficits donít matterĒ to be flawed.

I like the money towards starting the ball rolling on Pharmacare. Since in the long run I think it would save dollars, the government could be more ambitious.

I think with low interest rates Canada should be investing much more heavily in public infrastructure than it has done, including an efficient transportation system for the whole GTA and satellite cities.

Skills training and subsidizing farmers have their place but are given a lot of emphasis here. I wonder how much bang for the buck will be delivered.

I do think the Internet to be a vital service available to all communities, and any community deserves clean water. I am in favour of supporting journalism but wouldnít want independence compromised in any way.

Reducing the interest on student loans is a reasonable goal but sacrifices should be divided between the public and private lenders.

I wonder if spending money on drugs for rare disease or mortgages will lead to higher prices than might otherwise exist. Something does need to be done regarding home affordability but a start might be taxes on non-residents, more efficient defences against laundering, encouraging growth in areas and provinces which are not already hugely populated or other measures.

Canadian governments have a poor record of measuring the efficiency of funded programs and I donít see any changes here.

But what do I know? What do other Canadian dopers say?
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Old 03-19-2019, 09:00 PM
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I like to see help for student debts, and help for people buying homes, and for First Nations.

Often promised, rarely manifest, in my experience.

I don’t like that it’s ages before any of it happens, that’s a kinda crappy tactic in my book, though fast becoming the norm.

As with all budgets, some may happen some won’t, and a long ways off at that. Hard to get excited over I think.
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Old 03-20-2019, 01:37 AM
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As someone who works at a cable company, I find the idea of broadband access across the land by 2030 to be laughable. This country is vast and the kind of infrastructure work needed is absurdly expensive, especially considering most of the country is frozen solid for ten months a year.
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Old 03-20-2019, 04:49 PM
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I donít know anything about the difficulties in making high speed Internet a reality in rural Canada. But most people who donít see the Internet as absolutely essential have never tried to go a few months without using it. Itís surprisingly challenging.

Since the money is divided over a long time frame, presumably there will be advances in satellite technology that make it feasible. And $6 billion seems like a lot of lucre. Iím sure there are challenges. What is the biggest country that has widespread rural Internet now?
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Old 03-20-2019, 07:00 PM
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Your Thoughts on Canada Budget 2019


If you're looking at internet penetration throughout the country, Canada is the largest country in the top 20 with the highest penetration rate, at 90.9%. By land size, it's the largest in the top 20.

The UK is the largest in the top 20 by total population.

https://www.internetworldstats.com/top25.htm
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Old 03-21-2019, 01:04 AM
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I donít know anything about the difficulties in making high speed Internet a reality in rural Canada. But most people who donít see the Internet as absolutely essential have never tried to go a few months without using it. Itís surprisingly challenging.
I'm thinking of a friend of mine in Ontario. He's a farmer, and his farm is about an hour north of Toronto. He's pretty much on dial-up.

If that's what he has to deal with just an hour north of Toronto (though not in any sort of village or town), then I'm happy to hear that improvements will be made.
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Old 03-21-2019, 04:38 PM
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As someone who works at a cable company, I find the idea of broadband access across the land by 2030 to be laughable.
"As someone who works at a telephone company, I find the idea of telephone access across the land by 1930 to be laughable."
-- Probably said by Grandpa DWMarch, circa 1919

Telecommunications has long been regarded as foundational to national well-being and nationhood itself in the vast expanses of both Canada and the US; in the US, as long ago as 1934 the Communications Act of that year called for "making available, so far as possible, to all the people of the United States a rapid, efficient, nationwide and worldwide wire and radio communication service with adequate facilities at reasonable charges". Canada, meanwhile, established itself as a technological leader in many aspects of telecommunications and that's an area in which we need to continue to innovate and make major investments. We have long passed the point that broadband Internet is a luxury; it's now pretty much a necessity.
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Old 03-21-2019, 08:42 PM
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I certainly like the idea of national pharmacare since they have more negotiating power than the provinces.

To hijack this thread a bit I think the hue and cry over a company bribing a few Libyan officials is way out of proportion to the offense. Should a major engineering company be shut out of all government contracts for ten years because the operated in the only way possible in some other corrupt country? It seems all out of proportion.
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Old 03-22-2019, 01:56 AM
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"As someone who works at a telephone company, I find the idea of telephone access across the land by 1930 to be laughable."
-- Probably said by Grandpa DWMarch, circa 1919

Telecommunications has long been regarded as foundational to national well-being and nationhood itself in the vast expanses of both Canada and the US; in the US, as long ago as 1934 the Communications Act of that year called for "making available, so far as possible, to all the people of the United States a rapid, efficient, nationwide and worldwide wire and radio communication service with adequate facilities at reasonable charges". Canada, meanwhile, established itself as a technological leader in many aspects of telecommunications and that's an area in which we need to continue to innovate and make major investments. We have long passed the point that broadband Internet is a luxury; it's now pretty much a necessity.
I'm not saying it can't be done. With enough time and effort every single town, hamlet, village, et cetera can be wired up. But industry has no incentive to do it and the government can't do it without both paying for it outright and contracting the work out to industry (who by the way are not just sitting idle waiting for this to happen - they're busy maintaining and building their own networks already). Canada is full of locations that are so remote and inaccessible and sparsely populated that even if every single person in that location was paying full price for the best broadband package any company could offer it would never pay back the cost of getting a wire to that place. We're talking about thousands of bridges to nowhere at immense taxpayer cost. It is thousands of man-hours for technicians who are already busy.

If Canada has more money than common sense we can hook everyone everywhere up. But it is going to cost way way way more than the government has budgeted and it is going to require excess capacity in skilled workers that does not exist right now. The government can call it a necessity all they want but how much of this are taxpayers going to be willing to foot the bill for? How many millions to hook up a few people who live in the middle of nowhere? Because pretty soon we're talking real money.
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Old 03-22-2019, 07:49 AM
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I'm not saying it can't be done.
Well, excuse me, but comments like "laughable" and "most of the country is frozen solid for ten months a year" sure does suggest to me that you're not only claiming it can't be done but are also introducing some very strange and comical ideas about Canadian climate.

The reality is this. The new funding is intended to ensure that by 2021, 90% of all Canadian homes and small businesses have access to a minimum 50 Mbps down, 10 Mbps up Internet service with no data allowance restrictions. Cite. The point is not to provide 100% coverage to these standards right up to the most remote isolated hut in the high Arctic -- political rhetoric notwithstanding -- but to provide those minimum standards to the overwhelmingly vast majority of Canadians. Those in extremely remote regions may have to endure lower standards for a time, and there are multiple technologies that can be deployed. Broadband is not necessarily cable, it can be DSL, cellular, microwave, and even satellite for the downstream channel if latency isn't an issue.

I live in a small town far from the usual big-city amenities and I can get 1 Gbps Internet access at reasonable cost. What we've done with electricity and telephones needs to be done with Internet for the vast majority of the population, and it can and will be done.
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Old 03-22-2019, 08:52 AM
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It seems all out of proportion.
Meh. I've no problem crucifying a company that, populated by bright people and with access to a legion of lawyers, knowingly bribes officials contrary to the law.

Can I just say how much I hate Canadian budget documents? What I really want is something like the US one where each department lays out their planned expenditures and initiates, instead of these mushy listing of legislative initiatives. It's hard to see a specific pattern in expenditures.

Overall, it's a blah budget. I would have liked a plan to reduce the deficit...but then again I'd like to see the GST upped to 6.5% a year with a fraction pushed to defence (digital warfare) and the remainder reduced to reduce the debt. It's hard to argue that good times are bad times to reduce debt.
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Old 03-22-2019, 09:05 AM
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I’d like Jody to let leak that she’s considering a running against Justine. Now that would shake up some Liberal politics!
(She can always change her mind, right?)

She already demonstrated more integrity than the PM.
A female, indigenous candidate with proven integrity and a spine?
I’m thinking instant social media star, huge public endorsement!
I’d love to see Justine’s response!

Last edited by elbows; 03-22-2019 at 09:06 AM.
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Old 03-22-2019, 09:12 AM
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I certainly like the idea of national pharmacare since they have more negotiating power than the provinces.

To hijack this thread a bit I think the hue and cry over a company bribing a few Libyan officials is way out of proportion to the offense. Should a major engineering company be shut out of all government contracts for ten years because the operated in the only way possible in some other corrupt country? It seems all out of proportion.
If it were only that, perhaps it would be too much. I'm not sure that getting banned for 10 years is the minimum punishment but even if we grant that conviction will lead to a 10 year ban, SNC is a crooked, corrupting influence, as you can see by reading the rather lengthy "Legal Issues" section of its wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SNC-Lavalin#Legal_Issues

It's not a one-off thing. It's a consistent pattern of corrupting public officials, including in Canada. If SNC ceases to exist, that will be fine. The workers can work for some other firms that aren't rotten. Remember how pernicious it can be for a firm to think it's too big to fail? Well think of how pernicious it will be if a firm thinks it's too big to be severely punished for all the underhanded tricks it pulls. It needs to fundamentally transform or die and a 10 year ban may provide the shock to do either of those things.

Last edited by MichaelEmouse; 03-22-2019 at 09:13 AM.
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Old 03-22-2019, 10:01 AM
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Iíd like Jody to let leak that sheís considering a running against Justine. Now that would shake up some Liberal politics!
(She can always change her mind, right?)
Ha ha, I get it;

You have called the PM a girls name, implying that he is not a real man. Great insult! Because we know that girls are weak.


I have never heard this before, and it really elevates your arguments. Keep it up!
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Old 03-22-2019, 10:52 AM
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Ha ha, I get it;

You have called the PM a girls name, implying that he is not a real man. Great insult! Because we know that girls are weak.


I have never heard this before, and it really elevates your arguments. Keep it up!
WOW!
I was rushing because my phone was ringing, so I made a simple spelling mistake.

My bad. Thatís it, a simple error. No hidden agenda or slur, or implication of Ďweakí.

(Hint: Iím a woman and vote Liberal! )

Sorry for accidentally triggering you.
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Old 03-22-2019, 01:53 PM
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WOW!
I was rushing because my phone was ringing, so I made a simple spelling mistake.

My bad. Thatís it, a simple error. No hidden agenda or slur, or implication of Ďweakí.

(Hint: Iím a woman and vote Liberal! )

Sorry for accidentally triggering you.
Just so you know, calling Trudeau "Justine" is pretty much the go-to insult from the right-wing mouth breathers across the country, particularly in Alberta.

It's ubiquitous. Not a great typo to make.
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Old 03-22-2019, 02:04 PM
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Again, a thousand apologies, my bad.

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, just sayin’!
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Old 03-22-2019, 03:10 PM
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No worries, carry on!
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Old 03-22-2019, 04:37 PM
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I haven't read the whole thing (I share Grey's annoyance at the vagueness of our budgets), but the mortage program is beyond daft. Trudeau wants to help people buy homes by giving qualified buyers a 5%, no-interest loan for the duration of the mortgage, giving CMHC a 5% ownership stake in the home. This is supposed to make housing more affordable.

The first problem is that housing in the unaffordable regions is supply-constrained, which is why it's unaffordable. So increasing demand through handouts while supply is constrained is going to have the opposite effect - it's going to drive up the price of housing, which will punish the people who do not wish to give CMHC a 5% stake in their home. It also seems to me that this is essentially lowering capital requirements and reducing the owner's stake in their house, which increases the risk of defaults. All in all, it's an expensive (2 billion plus) program that will have the opposite effect of what is intended. And the prime beneficiaries of it will not be poor homeless people, but the people who currently own property and will see its value spike.

There are many other problems with it. Economists on both the left and right have been criticizing it since the budget dropped.

Also, the facct is that Trudeau promised that his government would never go over a $10 billion dollar deficit, and that the budget would be balanced by 2019. So here we are, and the projected deficit is $19.1 billion, and the budget has absolutely no plan to get to a balanced budget at all. And this during a time of relative economic well-being when even Keynesians will say that we should not be running huge deficits. Trudeau is now hand-waving away huge deficits as if they are a trivial matter, because he says all their spending is just more important. Gah.

Last edited by Sam Stone; 03-22-2019 at 04:39 PM.
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Old 03-22-2019, 06:14 PM
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The first problem is that housing in the unaffordable regions is supply-constrained, which is why it's unaffordable. So increasing demand through handouts while supply is constrained is going to have the opposite effect - it's going to drive up the price of housing, which will punish the people who do not wish to give CMHC a 5% stake in their home.
This is so wrong on several levels. First of all if you look at super-hot markets like Toronto, the statement about "supply is constrained" as a generalization is simply false. Sure, in some specific urban neighborhood there may be no space left to build more detached houses, but there's a lot more to the Greater Toronto Area than the City of Toronto proper, and the massive price increases there have been spilling over for years into all the surrounding areas. Many of these areas are experiencing huge amounts of new construction and unprecedented growth, and are well served by freeways and commuter rail for those needing access to the city proper. One thing we are not short of here is land. Some parts of many of these suburban communities look like giant construction zones, with new subdivisions popping up everywhere you look. "Supply is constrained"? It is to laugh!

Secondly, continuing with the GTA as a prime example, the pricing in those highly built-up areas that might potentially be more supply-limited puts it far out of reach of the First Time Home Buyer Incentive anyway. To qualify, one must be a first-time buyer with a household income no greater than $120,000 and the mortgage value plus the CMHC loan under this program cannot exceed four times that, or a maximum of $480,000. The average price of a detached house in Toronto last year? About $1.35 million. And that's an average that includes some pretty rundown hovels in not very desirable areas. A more typical price in a reasonable middle class neighborhood would be closer to $3 million. Please explain us how the First Time Home Buyer Incentive is going to drive up those prices. Of course most condos are a lot cheaper, and we know why, don't we? Because condos are generally plentiful, with high-rise condos sprouting like weeds all over the city and far, far beyond.

And I find it amusing that you describe this as "the first problem" as if there are so many others, but in fact you describe no others, except vague references to "many other problems" and the self-evident fact that it costs money. So ISTM that the real problems here are that you just don't like governments involving themselves in free markets, and you don't like Trudeau. Which sounds to me like a great example of the old adage about being entitled to your own opinions but not your own facts.

ETA: Incidentally regarding that 5% -- that's for resales. As a point of information, it's 10% for new construction. I haven't seen all the program details but I presume that's because new construction is subject to 5% GST, while resales are not.

Last edited by wolfpup; 03-22-2019 at 06:17 PM.
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Old 03-23-2019, 12:07 AM
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I believe the the intention of the housing loan to first time buyers is to merely provide a possible tool they could draw upon to make purchasing a hope slightly easier.

It's certainly not intended to solve housing affordability in one giant swoop.

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Old 03-23-2019, 03:55 AM
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Sam, I should add to my post above that I didn't notice that you had mentioned a second reason you object to the First Time Home Buyer Incentive. So I withdraw my criticism that you implied there were multiple problems but only mentioned one. I refuted the first one you mentioned, and the second reason you offer is that "this is essentially lowering capital requirements and reducing the owner's stake in their house, which increases the risk of defaults". This is, if anything, even more ridiculous than the first reason.

Perhaps you weren't aware that the Trudeau government has been working from the beginning of its term to do the opposite of what you claim, to reduce the risk of defaults through such measures as the new mortgage stress test that came into effect last January, as well as other responsible rule changes. In fact Trudeau recently had to defend these reforms against accusations that he was raising the bar for home ownership financial standards too high. And you now accuse him of "increasing the risk of defaults"?

No. All that this new program does is that, against a backdrop of generally tighter mortgage rules, it introduces a tweak that helps first-time buyers who need that help the most. So now you have first-time buyers who as of last year have to meet tighter mortgage requirements, but are also getting a bit of a hand up from the government.
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Old 03-23-2019, 09:51 AM
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Can I just say how much I hate Canadian budget documents? What I really want is something like the US one where each department lays out their planned expenditures and initiates, instead of these mushy listing of legislative initiatives. It's hard to see a specific pattern in expenditures.
You have to remember that the Canadian budget process is different from the US. The budget is a general policy statement. The expenditure details are in the Main Estimates introduced subsequently, which turn the budget generalities into detailed planned spending amounts on a program-by-program basis for each department and agency. These expenditures are in turn authorized by Parliament through a series of Appropriation acts. (See Main Estimates details here.)
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Old 03-23-2019, 11:29 AM
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Trudeau recently had to defend these reforms[/URL] against accusations that he was raising the bar for home ownership financial standards too high. And you now accuse him of "increasing the risk of defaults"?
This fits with the major Conservative Party policy platform for the upcoming election;

"If Trudeau Does It, It's Bad. Blame Trudeau. HATE HIM"

That's it. That's all. That is the Conservative strategy going into this election.
I'm quite confident that some party strategist has looked south of the border and saw how the Hillary Hatred Train was quite successful at getting a complete idiot elected. Hate wins elections.
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Old 03-23-2019, 11:47 PM
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You have to remember that the Canadian budget process is different from the US. The budget is a general policy statement. The expenditure details are in the Main Estimates introduced subsequently, which turn the budget generalities into detailed planned spending amounts on a program-by-program basis for each department and agency. These expenditures are in turn authorized by Parliament through a series of Appropriation acts. (See Main Estimates details here.)


An excellent post from Bookkeeper!

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Old 03-24-2019, 09:32 AM
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As someone who works at a cable company, I find the idea of broadband access across the land by 2030 to be laughable. This country is vast and the kind of infrastructure work needed is absurdly expensive, especially considering most of the country is frozen solid for ten months a year.
Xplornet does it, the issue is that they are overpriced and unrespectful to their customers by not providing with what they are paying for (advertised speeds and limited bandwidth).
But it seems that they are opening to unlimited bandwidth but at a higher price.
Compared to fibre the cost is outrageous.

To be honest I have trouble understanding why the price is higher when compared to fibre looking at the infrastructure.

A LTE tower should be cheaper to install and maintain than running fibre cable to every single dwelling.
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Old 03-24-2019, 10:51 AM
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There is currently a plan to provide 4G cell coverage along Highway 16 in northern BC by installing a whole bunch of small cell antenna on power poles, rather than building large towers. Granted, this will only provide coverage along the highway, so the trapper cabins up the valleys will have to wait.

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Last edited by tingbudong; 03-24-2019 at 10:52 AM.
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