The Joke’s On Us:
Today marks April Fool’s Day, and once again the joke’s on Canadians, who are being taken as fools.
We wake up to a new hosing at the gas pumps, as Justin Trudeau’s Liberals hikes the federal carbon charge on fossil fuels by 30% from $50 a tonne to $65, meaning we cough up another 3 cents a litre to fill up, when cash-strapped Canadians can’t afford to keep food on the table, let alone drive our cars. Meanwhile, the world’s largest oil giant, Exxon, who owns Esso gas stations, posted a profit of US$56 billion in 2022 – a record for any publicly-traded oil company.
This latest gouging means natural gas bills for heating and cooling our homes are going up too, not to mention another spike in our grocery bills, as it will cost more to deliver to food stores, where prices are already at record highs, pushing inflation through the roof. If you buy groceries on credit cards and can only afford a minimum payment, you’re being gouged again with higher borrowing costs. And how unfair is this? While many are forced to visit food banks, food and agribusiness billionaires saw their wealth grow by 42% in the past few years, while in Canada, Loblaws enjoyed a 40% hike in its 2022 earnings.
More nasty jokes:
When Canadians already pay the highest telecommunications bills in the world, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals are allowing a powerful oligopoly in Canada to grow bigger by approving the Rogers-Shaw merger.
What a joke, when Francois-Philippe Champagne, Liberal Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, had the gall to say with his conditions, this C$20 billion ($14.7 billion) deal will be good for consumers. Let’s get real: Even with Freedom Mobile being spun off to Videotron, owned by Quebec magnate Pierre Karl Peladeau (Pile-of-Dough) - Bell, Rogers and Telus still own about 87% Canada’s telecommunication industry. As Laura Tribe, head of consumer watchdog group OpenMedia told the CBC: “Today’s decision is the largest blow to telecommunications competition and affordability we’ve ever seen.” Ben Klass, a telecom researcher at Ottawa’s Carleton University, adds, “This is a merger that is going to help the billionaire families who own these companies, not average Canadians who have to pay mobile bills at the end of the month.”
The list of jokes goes on: Like buried in Justin Trudeau’s latest budget, there’s a promise to strengthen air travellers’ rights, after we’ve being brutally beaten up by unacceptable flight delays and cancellations, long line-ups, and baggage gone missing. But guess what? Strengthening these rights is going to cost us, with a 32.85% hike in the security charge levied on customers by May 1, 2024. And what happened to a much-needed clampdown on big airline players gobbling up the little ones?
Another joke is the Liberals’ pledge to clamp down on predatory lenders by changing rules under the Criminal Code, which means scuzzy payday loan operators offering two-week, $1,500 loans to vulnerable and low-income Canadians, can only charge $14 on each $100 borrowed. That’s an annual interest rate of 336%. That’s usury. That should be banned.
But this joke gets the biggest laugh. Justin Trudeau Liberals, known as the party of conflicts of interest, are condoning the appointment of Martine Richard to interim Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, who will oversee the federal Conflict of Interest Act. And who’s Martine Richard? The sister-in-law of Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc, who’s a close friend of Justin Trudeau.
And who’s kidding who? Justin Trudeau’s Liberals are spending billions more in their new budget with Canada’s net debt in the trillions while our country’s combined total federal/provincial debt doubled since 2007 with the debt-to-GDP (gross domestic product or economic growth) rate at a staggering 75%. This is no laughing matter. Today’s debt are tomorrow’s taxes, and we’re already taxed to death.
Then there’s the latest scare that Artificially Intelligence systems are growing so powerful, they are a threat to humankind, and could be used as a weapon to bring down our democracy. Wow, AI teams up with Russia and China. That’s no joke.
If all of this is too much, and you want to drown your sorrows in a drink, here’s a final joke. It’s going to cost you more beecause today, the cost of beer, wine and spirits goes up too.
Happy April Fools’ Day.
Linda Leatherdale, former Money Editor of the Toronto Sun, is a tax crusader and defender of hard-working Canadians.