First, here is Mr. Dumont’s article published today in the Journal de Montréal:
Second, here is a quick English translation (food for thought, especially that Mr. Dumont usually chooses his words very judiciously):
“Our governments had to come to the rescue in the face of the economic cataclysm that COVID-19 caused. If the Trudeau government has been slow to close the borders, it can be said that it has been quick and efficient in putting money back into the pockets of the people.
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) was announced quickly. Even more impressive, the government was able to put in place an expeditious request processing system and make payments within a time frame that silenced skeptics.
No one will dispute the extreme necessity that existed at that time. Most of the economy was closed suddenly for health reasons. Many households were left without income to pay for the essentials. Government support at a critical time has prevented drama.
Trudeau says yes
The needs are great. However, a government cannot say yes to everything. This week, I came to wonder if the Trudeau government had succumbed to its natural inclination to throw money out the window.
The $ 9 billion announcement for students represents the drop (or cup?) of water that made the vase overflow.
Although real needs exist among students, such an expensive program seems to me unjustifiable. Offering all students substantial amounts to spend the summer on the living room sofa is a risk.
Who will want to work? Working hard to get a few dollars more than Uncle Justin’s offer? You’re full sick, man.
It must be taken into account that all of the new sums announced are made of borrowed money. With debt that will be well in excess of $ 200 billion, it seems to me that Canada has reached the stage of spending a little more sparingly.
Our young people will repay the debts of the year 2020 for a good part of their lives.
The value of work
The student benefit is so easy to get that it forces us to think about the work incentive that seems lost for a few months. CERB, for example, is paid unconditionally in terms of willingness to work. You lost your job because of COVID-19, so you are entitled to it. Period.
Even if your employer goes back to work and calls you back, you don’t have to go back to work. Even if your phone rings and you are offered work, it is okay to say no and prefer Justin Trudeau’s $ 2,000 check.
Killing the incentive to work is not without consequence. The Devoir newspaper informed us this week about nurses and attendants who had lost their jobs in March in non-essential sectors such as aesthetics. The health network calls for the services of these trained people to help in CHSLDs [long-term care centres]. Why give up CERB to go put yourself at risk?
I received testimonies this week from small entrepreneurs worried about finding workers this summer. “Difficult to compete with Justin!”, I heard”.