March 15, 2021 - No. 17
Federal Budget and Government Borrowing
New Law to Permit Unlimited Borrowing
• Liberal Pay the Rich Scam to Increase Borrowing from Private Lenders
Broad Support for BC Hospitality Workers
• Hotel Workers Hold Militant Action on International Women's Day
• New Westminster and Victoria City Councils Support Hotel Workers
Federal Budget and Government Borrowing
Bill C-14, An Act to implement certain provisions of the economic statement tabled in Parliament on November 30, 2020 and other measures seeks
to give the federal Cabinet unlimited power to borrow money from the
global private lenders. This brazen Act before Parliament concentrates
more power in the hands of the federal
Cabinet to act with impunity.
The borrowed money is a double-edged sword to pay the
global rich. The money is used for ill-gotten payouts to
the most favoured cartels and monopolies, and the
ongoing servicing of the debt becomes a guaranteed slush
fund for moneylenders that keeps giving for decades and
can explode in size at any time when inflation hits
causing destruction and misery.
Bill C-14 immediately increases the government's
borrowing authority to $1.8 trillion. This amount is
significant as it will push the federal debt past
Canada's 2020 GDP of $1.71 trillion. In fact, no real
limit to borrowing from private lenders will exist as
the Act specifically states: "The Minister may borrow an
amount under an order made under paragraph 46.1(a) or
(b) of the Financial Administration Act even if
that borrowing causes the maximum amount referred to in
section 4 of this Act to be exceeded."
Paragraph 46.1 of the Financial Administration Act
reads, "In any fiscal year, the Governor in Council may
by order authorize the Minister to borrow money for (a)
the payment of any amount that is required to be paid in
that fiscal year in respect of any money borrowed under
the authority of this Act or any other Act of
Parliament; (b) the extinguishment or reduction of any
liability of Canada, if the Minister is of the opinion
that the liability should be extinguished or reduced."
The Minister could identify any existing debt or other
government liability and order money be borrowed to
extinguish or reduce it. The liability could be
something similar to the government purchase of the
Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project for $4.5
billion from its distressed U.S. owners who wanted out
without losing their shirts. The liability could be the
$19 billion the government proposes to spend for new
fighter jets from the U.S. war economy.
Through stealth the Cabinet and Ministers from whatever
cartel party is in power are seizing more and more
prerogative powers over policy and government actions
and financing them through borrowing money from private
lenders and taxes on individuals. The increasing
prerogative powers are the police powers of a small
cabal of dictators who serve the global oligarchy.
The Parliament as a talk-shop to discuss and debate
issues has even lost that function, becoming a
non-essential disinforming service engaged in nonsense
to spawn scandals and divert attention away from what
the Cabinet and Ministers are doing by stealth. The role
of the other cartel parties is to permit this as they
strive to position themselves to become the Cabinet and
take over the prerogative police powers of the cartel
party in power. The people are subjected to a
never-ending media barrage according to which the
Liberals are popular or that change will come with a
different cartel party in power. All of them support a
system which is ruled by prerogative police powers to
keep the people disempowered.
Workers' Forum denounces the corruption of Bill C-14 which,
amongst other things, expands public borrowing from private lenders. It
calls on all working people to take up the call to Stop Paying the
Rich; Increase Funding for Social Programs. The cabal in power has
turned Canada into a massive slush fund for the global oligarchy.
The entire gang in power should be removed from office.
Democratic Renewal Is the Order of the Day!
Stop Paying the Rich; Increase Investments in Social Programs!
Writing for nationalnewswatch.com, K.W. Grafton provides alarming information about Bill C-14, An
Act to implement certain provisions of the economic statement tabled in
Parliament on November 30, 2020 and other measures. The
bill has passed second reading and has been sent to the Standing
Committee on Finance, with the most recent discussion in the committee
occurring March 11.
The information provided by Grafton is one more example of how
governments are concentrating more and more power in their hands to act
with impunity. What is hidden is that this borrowing is a huge scam to
pay the rich because the borrowing is from private lenders who reap an
ill-gotten fortune guaranteed by the government of
Bill C-14 was introduced into parliament on December 2, 2020 by
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland with the
Liberal government's Fall Economic Statement 2020. It is designed to
allow the government to continue operating without having to table a
budget which has not happened since March 19, 2019.
Grafton explains that, in part, the bill deals with federal borrowing.
"The summary states, 'Part 7 amends the Borrowing Authority Act to,
among other things, increase the maximum amount of certain borrowings
and include certain borrowings that were previously excluded in the
calculation of that amount. It also makes a related amendment to the Financial Administration Act.'
"Those 'borrowings' were the subject of discussion during the
'Pre-Budget Consultations in Advance of the 2021 Budget' held by the
Standing Committee on Finance in January, whereby it became known that
Freeland intended to increase government borrowing authority to $1.8
trillion -- more than Canada's $1.71 trillion GDP in 2020,"
Saying that the devil is in the details, Grafton explains that the details are in Part 7 of the bill.
"Part 7 Borrowing Authority Act
includes amendments to the Act that increases the total amount of
borrowing by the Minister of Finance from $1,168,000,000,000 to
"Then, there is a qualifier.
"It also includes the following amendment, '6. The Minister may
borrow an amount under an order made under paragraph 46.1(a) or (b) of
the Financial Administration Act even if that borrowing causes the maximum amount referred to in section 4 of this Act to be exceeded.'
"Paragraph 46.1 of the Financial Administration Act reads, 'In any fiscal year, the Governor in Council may by order authorize the Minister to borrow money for
(a) the payment of any amount that is
required to be paid in that fiscal year in respect of any money
borrowed under the authority of this Act or any other Act of
extinguishment or reduction of any liability of Canada, if the Minister
is of the opinion that the liability should be extinguished or reduced;
"Therefore, although the borrowing limit is set at $1.8 trillion,
the minister can ignore that limit and borrow more say $2 trillion $3
trillion $10 trillion -- there is no real limit, beyond the market
realities of Canada's diminishing credit rating.
"The wording of Paragraph 46.1 also permits the government to borrow
any amount to pay back debt. This will come in handy when the current
short-term low interest COVID-debt comes due and must be refinanced (at
what will almost certainly be higher interest rates). The taxpayers
will be borrowing high-interest money to pay off existing
Grafton points out that "the proposed ceiling of $1.8 trillion will
raise Canada's debt-to-GDP ratio to 105.26 per cent." He says that
according to the World Bank, countries with debt-to-GDP ratios above 77
per cent for prolonged periods suffer significant reductions in
"Since Canada's debt-to-GDP ratio is forecast to stay above 100 per
cent through 2025, and 75 per cent of borrowing to date has been
short-term (4 years or less), most of this will have to be refinanced
at higher rates during a time of stagnant or reduced economic growth.
"Canada will be looking for money under less than optimum
conditions; forced to borrow, poor economic growth, high debt to GDP
ratio, and diminished credit rating."
Broad Support for BC Hospitality Workers
On International Women's Day hotel workers in BC launched a
campaign to increase awareness of their fight in defence of hotel
workers. The campaign, organized by workers represented by Unite Here
Local 40, entitled Unequal Women -- 19th Century Treatment in 21st
Century British Columbia, was announced at a militant
demonstration and press conference at Jack Poole Plaza in Vancouver.
Local 40 President Zailda Chan and workers from several hotels laid out
the demands of hotel workers -- the majority of whom are national
minority women -- that the hotels stop firings and guarantee all workers
the right to return to their jobs when the industry reopens.
Workers have held demonstrations, press conferences, and other
actions including a 22-day hunger strike at the BC legislature in 2020
to inform everyone of what is happening and to create public opinion in
support of their cause. As a result some hotels have agreed to extend
recall rights and not fire workers who have been laid off as a result
of the pandemic. Other hotels continue to use the pandemic as
justification to permanently fire workers and refuse to negotiate
extended recall periods. Part of the campaign is to call on hotel
customers to take their business only to those hotels that have extended workers' recall rights.
Workers at the Hilton Metrotown Hotel started a partial strike on February 3
against the owners'
attack on workers' rights. Speaking to Workers' Forum
about the situation at Hilton Metrotown, Michelle Travis, a
spokesperson for Unite Here Local 40, explained that in negotiations on
the contract and with regard to the COVID-19-related shutdowns during
the past year, hotel management has refused to extend the recall
period beyond 12 months, a time frame that is clearly inappropriate in
light of the extraordinary circumstances. Hotel owners have been openly
begging the government for bailout money, saying that if they do not
get public funds workers will lose their jobs, trying to create public
opinion in their favour. While putting this face forward, behind the
scenes they are attempting to use the pandemic as a cover to get rid of
workers, particularly those with the greatest seniority. In contract
negotiations, the hotel is demanding concessions that would reduce some
workers' pay to minimum wage, cut medical benefits, eliminate pensions,
and other rollbacks. "Those most impacted are women who are
already disproportionately impacted by the economic repercussions of
the pandemic," Travis said, adding "They want to gut medical benefits
in the midst of a world-wide medical emergency and use mass firings as
an extortionary tactic to gut working conditions. It's outrageous."
The BC NDP government also has to be held to account for
consistently refusing to take up its social responsibility to protect
jobs through guaranteeing recall rights and prohibiting the
manipulation of the labour law by employers. Eight months ago Premier
Horgan told a press conference, "We're calling on employers to do
the right thing and
make sure they're keeping their workforce intact to the greatest extent
possible, we expect that to happen, if we need to take steps using the
legislature to protect workers, we'll do that." In practice his
government has refused to act and has left the workers to fend for
At the press conference the union reported that they will be
organizing other actions to keep up the pressure and hold employers and
the government to account in the coming days and weeks until their
demands are met.
City councils in New Westminster and Victoria unanimously endorsed
motions in support of hotel workers' right to recall to their jobs, on
February 23 and March 4 respectively. Both councils affirmed "that
people should not lose their livelihoods due to the pandemic" and
committed to writing to the provincial Ministers of Labour and
Tourism expressing their support for the right for laid off workers to
return to their jobs when the pandemic eases. Each council also decided
to contact their counterparts, the Lower Mainland Local Government
Association, and the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal
Communities, and the Union of BC Municipalities, "encouraging them
to host future conferences and events in venues that respect workers
rights and pay at least a living wage."
In a letter to the Hilton Metrotown in Burnaby dated March 1,
Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley wrote: "The economic impact of COVID-19 on
hotel workers, particularly women, has been devastating. Women who have
cleaned rooms, cooked meals and served guests for decades deserve fair
treatment during these difficult times. Instead, the
Hilton Metrotown Hotel has been treating them like they're disposable
and this is not acceptable. I urge you to guarantee these women their
right to return to work."
(To access articles individually click on the black headline.)
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