Conservatives Not Addressing the Anxiety of the Middle Class

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By Hon. Dominic LeBlanc, P.C., M.P.
Liberal Party of Canada House Leader

Presented with the opportunity to lay out an agenda to address the rising anxieties of the middle class, what did the Conservative government do? Blow the opportunity and show how out-of-touch they have grown with Canadians.

Canadians are cynical. They are disappointed when the government says it is committed to accountability and transparency, but has lost five caucus members to scandal. Of those, Senators Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau were all appointed by the Prime Minister. What does that say about his judgement and the example he is setting?

Faced with political problems, the Tories are responding the only way they know how, with political solutions. But none of it helps our struggling middle class.

Despite all our progress, middle-class families have not had a real raise in decades. As incomes have stagnated while costs have risen, families have taken on more and more debt. As a share of disposable income, they now have more debt than families in the United States. Parents are worried that no matter how hard they work, they will not be able to give their children the same opportunities their parents gave to them.

The Conservatives claim leadership on the economy, but what are their results? Prime Minister Harper has the worst record on growth of any prime minister since R.B. Bennett in the depths of the Great Depression. Ten consecutive budget surpluses have turned into seven consecutive deficits. Our national debt has ballooned more than $150 billion in just eight years. Too many workers are unemployed or can only find part-time positions. Youth underemployment is persistently high, scarring the next generation as they start their careers.

The Conservatives are so disconnected that instead of addressing these challenges, they used the opening of a new session of Parliament to throw Canadians a few baubles to try to buy them off with their own money.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. This is a party whose primary economic message is “It could be worse. Be happy that you don’t live in Spain.” They tell Canadians that expecting more from their leaders and themselves is a waste of time, naïve even. And their sole response to the most pressing economic and social issues facing Canadians with political gamesmanship and gimmicks.

That kind of defeatism has no place in Canada. We need to restore hope and opportunity, not settle for mediocrity.

JULY 2018

Vol. 12 - No. 12


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