The details are lacking, Tom Walkom writes
, but Justin Trudeau's economic vision is becoming clear. First, there is his focus on the middle class:
Trudeau’s argument here is that both poor and rich gain when the middle class prospers.
For the poor, a strong middle class represents a “ladder to stability and security.” Put simply, this means that a minimum-wage retail worker, while unlikely to become a corporate CEO, has a fair chance at getting a well-paid factory job — but only if such jobs exist.
For the wealthy, Trudeau says, a satisfied middle class diminishes the threat of voters electing a government hostile to the free-market “growth agenda.”
Second, there is the matter of taxes:
In his speech, Trudeau said only that he would not raise taxes on the middle class. But in an earlier interview Saturday on CBC Radio, he went further, ruling out any kind of tax hike.“I don’t think we need to raise any taxes,” he said. “We are not going to be raising taxes."
On that score, he is simply repeating Mr. Harper and Mr. Mulcair's line. Which brings us to the deficit:
Trudeau’s language on government finances is more sophisticated than that of those who preach austerity. Fiscal discipline, he said Saturday, is important. But in the end, government budgets can be balanced only if the economy grows.
In general, he’s right. Canada’s federal deficit was eliminated in the ’90s by a surging world economy, not by the then Liberal government’s decision to cut spending.
The real question is, can his government generate enough growth to eliminate the deficit? Walkom doubts that the world economic engine will repeat its performance in the 1990's.
Finally, Justin -- like Harper -- likes pipelines:
Like Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, he wants pipelines built to move Canadian oil and gas to global markets. Like New Democratic Party Leader Tom Mulcair, he wants a “robust environmental policy” to make sure that other nations don’t discriminate against Canadian crude.
He assumes there will be a surplus in 2015. Unlike Harper, he proposes to invest the money in education and infrastructure, rather than in tax cuts.
It's not a radical vision. In fact, it's pretty conventional.