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The Observer

The Liberal Budget Reveals Trudeau's Heart

Posted by Joshua Claycamp on


It's Friday, April 8 2022. I'm Joshua Claycamp. And this is the observer a Kamloops Christians reflection upon the news from a biblical perspective in order to help Christians understand how we need to think about current events.

We are all familiar with the famous passage from Matthew chapter six, where Jesus encourages his disciples not to lay up for themselves treasures on earth, where he says moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. Rather, Jesus encourages us to lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust can destroy. And of course, where thieves cannot break in and do not steal. The principle Jesus gives for why we should seek to pour our investments, our time, our energy, our treasure, in heaven, as opposed to here on Earth, is because Jesus says Where your treasure is there, your heart will be also, indeed where a person spends his time where a person stores his money. These things are a reflection of ultimate value. And that's what makes budgets a theological document. A person's budget, whether it be at his home budget, or his business budget reveals the value of that individual. And this makes budgets perhaps the most theological of all documents. And with that in mind, we saw something of the theology of the Liberal Party.

Yesterday on Thursday, April 7, the federal Liberals tabled in Parliament their budget for 2022, deputy prime minister and finance minister Chrystia Freeland, second budget of the pandemic era marks an effort by the government in order to present a budget to Canada for Canada that was described by many as being a financially prudent fiscally responsible budget. So here con executive president at the University of Ottawa's Institute for Fiscal Studies and democracy was quoted as saying this is a modest budget. He went on to explain that the uncertainty in the economic environment is what is shaping this. In broad strokes Kahn said that the budget represents a shift from an era that was marked by large scale emergency government spending to a transition period where inflation is hopefully just a short term phenomenon. Amid the turbulence of the current global economic upheaval, Khan was referring, of course, to events in Eastern Europe with the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the extent of that uncertainty and the volatility is the big question mark hanging over what Khan would go on to describe as the budgets relatively modest spending commitments.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland acknowledged in the budget, that after the almost unprecedented spending of the COVID 19 pandemic crisis phase, now is the time to lift the government's foot off the economic gas pedal. She was quoted as saying the money that rescued Canadians in the Canadian economy deployed chiefly and rightly by the federal government, to the tune of eight of every $10 invested has now depleted our treasury, our COVID response came at a significant cost, and our ability to spend is not infinite. That was indeed a stunning admission from a federal finance minister. And this leaves us all asking the question, if budgets are theological documents, and if a budget will reveal to us where a person's heart is, then the question is, what is it that we find within the budget? What exactly are the spending initiatives?

Now yesterday over the course of coverage, as I was watching intently, I heard multiple different statements regarding how much net new spending was in this budget. Initially, it was presented to me as $7 billion in net new spending by global, eventually federal, eventually, global news updated their projection and said that it would be closer to 38 billion new dollars, I still wasn't entirely clear on that. At another point, we learned from the National Post that there appeared to be as much as 56 billion to 85 billion. And again, I'm not entirely sure what these numbers represent whether they are single year, single annual federal budget increases, or whether they're talking over the next four to five years, these these statements get very confusing at exactly this point. And one can't help but come to the conclusion that politicians shift back and forth talking about a single year budget versus a four to five year projected budget, precisely because they don't want to be too concrete on the numbers. So I'm not entirely sure myself in terms of how much new spending is in this budget, but we should ask the question, what exactly is it do that we find in the budget? What is it that the Liberals are wanting to spend their money on.

a number of the Budget measures were related to housing and health initiatives which of course included a dental care program, which was the demand of the NDP as a result of the supply and confidence deal that they struck with the liberals. But the spending measures include $4 billion for a new housing accelerator fund. It also includes money significantly 5.3 billion over five years and then another 1.7 billion on an ongoing basis for this dental care program. The Dental Care Program will include children under the age of 12, who come from households in which the household income is less than $90,000. It will be expanded over time to all children under the age of 18. It will also include seniors or people with a disability. This will not come this year, but it will come in the following years. PharmaCare, of course, was another high profile NDP priority with the two parties, both the NDP and the Liberals agreeing to continuing MIT to making progress on a universal national PharmaCare plan. But the budget does not allocate any funding at least in this fiscal year towards PharmaCare. But it says the government will table a Canada PharmaCare bill later this year, and will work to have it passed by the end of 2023. And the task of the Canadian drug agency will be to develop a national formulary of essential medicines as well as a proposal for a bulk purchasing plan. But the budget also outlines another an additional 6 billion on various housing initiatives that were referenced in the agreement between the two parties.

The biggest of those, of course is the 4 billion already mentioned for the housing accelerator Fund, which is focused on increasing the supply of housing, a total of 100,000 net new housing units are demanded within the next five years. This is to make housing more affordable. It is to increase the supply of housing in order to bring the cost of housing down. The goal is to incentivize cities and towns that are stepping up to get more housing built, while also ensuring that municipalities are able to get the support that they need in order to modernize and continue to build new homes. Another $1.5 billion over two years is allocated to extend the rapid housing initiative, which the government expects to create at least 6000 new affordable housing units of further 475 million is going to go to the candidate housing benefit to provide a one time $500 payment to those individuals who are facing housing affordability challenges. The budget also promises to reform the rental construction financing initiative to include an increased focus on the affordability of rental homes, also not costed, but included.

The budget also promised to move ahead with a home buyers Bill of Rights, which could include measures such as ensuring homebuyers have a legal right to a home inspection. One measure that was also included in this budget is expected to bring in revenue to the government banks and life insurance groups will pay a one time 15% tax on taxable income above $1 billion for the 2021 tax year. This means that if you happen to bank at a very large bank, think Royal Bank of Canada or Montreal bank, these large banks, of course, that have over billions of dollars in assets or various other funds on their balance sheets will be expected this year to pay what the Liberals are calling a one time 15% tax on that income that's going to be passed on to consumers like you and me. The Liberals are expecting this one time 15% tax to bring in $4 billion for the government over the next five years. The government is also permanently raising tax rates for some bank and life insurance groups, which will again bring in an additional $2 billion. But all of this leaves leaves us asking the question, what is it? Where is it? What is the value? What is the desire of the liberals? Where is their heart? And I think that the answer to this question comes back to the issue of the environment over the past several years as we've reflected upon the Liberals passion for doing something about the environment, trying to curb carbon, the carbon footprint of the country trying to implement carbon tax and capture initiatives trying to promote green energy tamping down on oil, doing everything imaginable to stop the construction of oil pipelines.

All of these actions point to the fact that when we consider what it is that is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has greatest priority where his heart is, I think the answer that question lies in the environment.

Now this is important for us to understand as Christians, it's very helpful to look at the Liberal Party and to understand that one of the driving forces of their government's policies. It's influenced, of course, by their worldview and their perspective regarding the environment, it would be helpful for us than to step back and ask ourselves what is the biblical teaching on the environment. Now, of course, the Bible says that when God first completed His work of creation, he saw everything that He had made and behold, Bible tells us it was very good. This was a world in which there was no disease and no thorns, no thistles, there was nothing that could harm human beings. It was a world of great abundance and beauty. And it was far beyond anything that we can imagine. Today, the current state of the natural world, that is the world that you and I see, the current state of the natural world is in fact, not the way that God created it. After Adam and Eve sinned, one of the punishments that he imposed was to change the functioning of the natural world, so that it would no longer function as an idyllic Garden of Eden. Instead, the world became a much more dangerous and difficult place for human beings to live.

God said to Adam, because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, you shall not eat of it, curse it is the ground because of you in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life, thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and usually the plants of the field by the sweat of your face, you shall eat bread until you return to the ground. For out of it you are taken, for you are dust and to dust you shall return. This comes from Genesis chapter three. At that point early in the history of mankind. God then caused a tremendous change in the beautiful creation that he had made, and he cursed it, so that rather than being a place from which Adam could eat food in overwhelming abundance, now the process of raising crops would involve pain and hardship. So God's words to Adam told him that now there would be danger and harm on the earth. Instead of it being a lush, tropical paradise. God says thorns and thistles will now come forth from out of the ground and hear the expression thorns and thistles functions as a kind of poetic image, a specific concrete example that represents a multitude of things such as hurricanes, floods, droughts, earthquakes, poisonous plants, poisonous snakes, and insects. And of course, hostile wild animals. All of these things make the earth a place in which its natural beauty and usefulness are constantly mixed with other elements that bring destruction, sickness, and even death. The point is that nature what we see in nature is not now what it was created to be, but it is now despite what God initially intended, what you and I should call fallen, we live in a fallen natural world.

This component of Christian worldview has significant implications for how we are to understand the environment today, we understand as Christians from a biblical worldview, that creation is not now perfect, as it someday will be. At present nature still exists in a fallen state. Therefore, what you and I would think of as natural today is not always good. This is where we have to step back and look at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has economic agenda, it is clear that in his budget, he wants to somehow halt the destruction of the environment. He believes and quite correctly, that the environment is continuing to become more and more hostile. As we consider the amount of earthquakes the amount of hurricanes and tornadoes, various natural disasters that are occurring all around the world. We know that indeed there seems to be there there is perceived to be an increase in the number and the frequency of these events. Of course, this is perfectly consistent with what Jesus taught his disciples in Matthew chapter 24, and the all of it discourse, that there would be wars and rumors of wars, that there would be earthquakes and floods and famines and various places. All of these things must happen as we approach the time of the end. And so one of the things that Jesus anticipated would happen is that the environment in which we live would continue to grow increasingly chaotic. All of this is rooted not towards an increase in something like carbon in the atmosphere, but rather all of it is rooted in the initial curse with which God afflicted this world. When Adam and Eve sinned. In other words, it's our sin that is the culprit for the degrading environment in which we live.

As Christians, we want to take good care of the environment. We recognize in Genesis chapter one when God commanded Adam and Eve he told them to go forth to be fruitful, to multiply to fill the earth to subdue it, and to exercise dominion over it. This is at the heart of the Creation mandate. So of course, we don't want to pollute. Of course, Christians don't want to do anything that is unduly destructive of the world around us. But by the same token, Christians understand that we cannot redeem nature, we don't have the power to restore nature to its idyllic state such as what it was in the Garden of Eden. And when we recognize this, as we consider the worldview, and the theology that is inherent in this budget, and so many liberal budgets before it, it becomes apparent that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Cabinet of the liberal party that is currently in power in Ottawa, it becomes clear that they're operating out of a worldview that is decidedly not Christian.

It is more akin to a humanist worldview, a materialistic worldview, which is to say, they are not taking into account spiritual realities, when they put together their budget. Rather, they are considering only the immediate here and now it is the epitome of secularism. Now, at this point, you might be asking, what spiritual realities Do you think that the Trudeau Government should account for? What is it exactly that you think they ought to be considering when they put together their budget? Well, as we've seen, from criticisms leveled against the Trudeau Government, by Bay Street, there simply is a limited number of dollars to go around.

The Trudeau Government has been criticized as a tax and spend government. And indeed, as we consider this budget, that is exactly what they do, they tax and they spend, but they spend it on initiatives that are important to them, initiatives which are consistent with their worldview, again, they have to spend a chunk of change on this new dental care program in order to keep the NDP happy, they have to spend a chunk of change on the housing supply crisis in order to provide housing for more and more consumers, or else their political base will begin to erode. And of course, they are in love with initiatives that will seek to restore the environment back to something of a natural state, whatever that might mean. And so they're going to spend money on that.

One thing that is not getting a enough money is defense spending. And when I say that we need to be looking at spiritual realities. I think one of the elephants in the room that simply is not being given enough attention is the spiritual reality of what's going on inside Vladimir Putin's heart. We have in recent weeks, seen a major world nuclear superpower invade a tiny neighbor immediately on its western border. And of course, we share a border of sorts with Russia as well. We don't have an exact land border with Russia. However, Canada does have territory in the Arctic, and right across the North Pole from us. Well, there's Russia. And so as Vladimir Putin is beginning to expand his control and extend his reach into the affairs of Eastern Europe, his expansionist ideals are going to drive him to begin looking at how he might consider challenging Western NATO Alliance in other ways. And of course, one of the weaker members of the NATO alliance is Canada. And of course, we are within striking distance just across the North Pole.

In fact, one of the criticisms leveled against the Trudeau budget is the lack of funding for NORAD. That is the North American Aerospace Defense Command, a joint military command shared between Canada and the United States. NORAD, of course provides the early detection systems that provide the ability for the military to detect an ICBM launch out of Russia, that is when Russia launches nuclear weapons. NORAD is the military posts stationed primarily in the northern reaches of Canada that is able to detect with radar and other technological means the launch of these missiles and to provide early warning to the Allies. One of the things not provided for in the Trudeau budget is an upgrade to what many have regarded as an obsolete and outdated system. In all of these things. We understand that there are spiritual realities with which we must contend. And there is a lack of funding to meet every single demand that presents itself, which is how you know that when we look at budgets, we are indeed looking at theological documents. A budget presents a value that is what a government believes to be the most important thing. And while it is true that there is an increase in government spending on defense, it is equally true that there is way more money that is spent on environmental initiatives. This tells you that the greatest fear that the Trudeau Government has is not Vladimir Putin, but it is the rising global temperature.

But there is one more question I want to consider before wrapping up today's edition of the observer. And it is the question of taxations. I had mentioned earlier in this episode that one of the things the Trudeau Government is planning to do is to levy a one time tax of 15%. On big banks that are earning over a billion dollars a year in revenue, they say it's going to be a one time tax, we'll see if that holds true. But it leads us to the question, taxing these kinds of revenues and spending that tax money elsewhere, does that actually increase the productivity of the country? Indeed, when we consider productivity, as we mentioned previously, we have to look at GDP, GDP has to do with the total value of all of the goods or services that are sold within a country in a given year, divided by the population of that country. So if you have a certain number of dollars sold within a country, you just take that total number of dollars, and you divide it by the total population of that country, and you get a a wealth value of how much money exists within that country on a per person basis. So if we were to look at how to increase GDP within a country, one of the things that many governments do is they tend to tax the population and take that tax money in order to spend it down the road on other systems other other values other priorities. The question is, does this actually increase GDP, when a man who has two shirts gives a shirt worth $13, to a man who has none, this may in fact, be a good deed that genuinely helps the poor man to have a shirt.

But we have to come to terms with the fact that it does nothing to increase the GDP, it does not increase the wealth within the country, no new product was created, there is no additional $13 of value that has been added to the economy or to the nation's GDP, the shirt was simply moved from one person to another. When it comes to actually increasing wealth within a country, it has to be the result of some value that has been added. For example, when a baker uses $3 worth of flour and other ingredients to make a loaf of bread, which he then turns around and sells for $4. It cost him $3 To make the bread, but he was able to sell it for a total of $4. That means he has suddenly added $1 to the GDP of the country, he has increased wealth, he has increased value within the country of $1. When a shoe maker uses pieces of leather that cost him $5. In order to make a pair of shoes that he is able to then turn around and sell for $30. He has added $25 of value $25 of wealth to the gross domestic product to the GDP. And this can go on and on, we could give examples of farmers who take $400 worth of beans and they grow a crop that they then turn around and sell for over $1,000 adding $600 to the GDP. And of course, they're even more complex processes that takes simple materials and turn them into very expensive items. Everything from eyeglasses to computer chips to semiconductors, the original value of those of the raw materials of those items, is actually quite cheap when compared to the cost of those items after they've gone through their manufacturing process. And so when we take some item, and we work on it, and we improve upon it, and we create a value an item of increased value, that's how we grow a country's GDP. That's how we grow the economy.

When Bay Street was looking to Ottawa to provide a budget that would allow for a growth within the economy. They were looking for plans that would incentivize individuals within Canada to go out and to begin engaging in business. For the purposes of growing our economy. When you just take taxes from one institution, in order to spend money elsewhere on some other institution, you're not actually growing the economy, there is nothing that is being added to our country. And so Bay Street as they're looking at this, they may see a budget that is fiscally and financially prudent in terms of not doing much to exacerbate the debt to GDP ratio. But Bay Street is quite correct in saying, You know what we asked for you to provide a budget that will allow for growth within our economy that would allow for an increase in the GDP of our nation. And what we got was more of just the same old same old tax and spend. All of this brings us back of course to the promise of Jesus, the promise of Scripture regarding the coming worldwide King, who indeed would bring blessing when he arrives.

The prophet Isaiah tells us in Isaiah chapter nine verses six to seven, For unto us a child is born unto To us, a son has given, indeed God sent His Son into this world. And with the arrival of Jesus Christ, there was infinite value added to humanity. The promise comes that the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. But it is the second part of this passage, which is particularly inspiring. The prophet Isaiah says, Of the increase of His government, and of peace, there will be no end. And on the throne of David and over his kingdom, He will reign to establish it and to uphold it with justice, and with righteousness. From this time forth, and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this. When we think of the increase of government. When we think of the increase of anything pertaining to the government, we tend to regard that news with suspicion if not outright dread. However, when Jesus rules, when he sits on the throne, he brings only blessing. He brings only prosperity, and he brings true peace, as the promise is that there will be an increase of his government of his government, there will also be an increase of peace. And so we say we welcome you here, Lord Jesus, come quickly.

Thanks for listening to the observer. I'm Joshua Claycamp. You can follow me on Twitter by going to twitter.com forward slash Joshua Claycamp. The observer is a ministry of First Baptist Church where Christians seek to discern the news differently. For more information on First Baptist Church, just go to first Baptist Kamloops dot O R G or for more information on first Baptist classical Academy. Just go to first Baptist gospel dot o RG I'll see you again on Monday for more of the observer.

Tags: money, jesus, government, christians, world, budget, spending, country, environment, canada, housing, increase, liberals, tax, gdp, trudeau, initiatives, spiritual realities, thistles, trudeau government