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MARK BONOKOSKI: Trudeau’s Canada, where almost half of us are $200 from bankruptcy

Federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, joined by MPs and Liberal candidates, makes an announcement Toronto Don Valley Hotel and Suites in Toronto, Ont. on Friday September 20, 2019.
Justin Trudeau - File/Chris Young

When almost 50% of Canadians were figuratively wearing Depends on Wednesday, praying that Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz would not inflict them with a raised interest rate, it speaks to very scary times.

It speaks to the undeniable fact that the Trudeau Liberals and our nation’s economy are total strangers.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is all about image wrapped in purple prose, international trips and enviro-lecturing, feminism and gender equality (now questioned), and bad-rash scandals like SNC-Lavalin.

Unlike his predecessor, Stephen Harper, he is not an economist.

He’s a snowboard instructor and a geography teacher, and it is getting more obvious by the minute as October’s federal election looms large.

In the 2015 federal election campaign, the Conservatives accused Trudeau of “not being ready” to lead our country.

They were not wrong.

Canadians who were sitting on the edge of their seats Wednesday got their prayers answered by Poloz when word went out that the Bank of Canada had abandoned its warning that future interest-rate hikes would likely be unavoidable, and held its benchmark overnight rate steady at 1.75%.

But it is bad out there, really bad.

As Bloomberg reported Monday, an Ipso survey commissioned by the insolvency firm, MNP Ltd., said the number of Canadians only $200 away from financial bankruptcy rose this year to 48%.

Not $2,000 away, which is bad enough, but $200 away.

The reason Poloz gave for holding the interest rate steady, and having half of the population sighing in relief, was slower than expected global growth as well as a sluggish housing and oil sectors in Canada that saw the economy with all its feet on the brakes over the last six months.

When it comes to those who are $200 shy of insolvency, MNP president Grant Bazian stated that “Canadians appear to be maxed out with no real plan for paying back what they have borrowed.

“This raises many alarming questions about how and if consumer debt will be repaid, particularly if conditions deteriorate or interest rates rise.”

But it gets even scarier.

Despite the economic downturn—and there was nothing in Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s recent budget to turn on the “sunny ways” lamp and light the way to prosperity—Canadians continue to add to their already over-stressed debt load.

The MNP survey, in fact, had four out of 10 respondents stating they will be unable to cover off their living and family expenses over the next 12 months without taking on even more debt.

“This isn’t simply a matter of people living beyond their means,” said Bazian. “The reality is that too many households simply can’t make ends meet, no matter how they try.”

The loudest cries, unsurprisingly, come from Albertans who, because of low oil prices forced upon them for the lack of Trans Mountain pipeline, get little thought and no action from the Trudeau Liberals.

Bankruptcies in Alberta, in fact, led the way in Canada, up 21% in 2018 over the year before because there remains no pipeline to get the oilsands to the tidewater of British Columbia, and on to more lucrative markets overseas.

This is what happens when the federal government that could bring them and the country better financial fortunes—i.e. the Trudeau Liberals—is best described as an “ineptocracy.”

It’s a word that defines itself.

markbonokoski@gmail.com

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019

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