Ed Sonshine, a chief executive in one of the harder-hit industries during the pandemic, said the Canadian government’s COVID-19 recovery spending plan frightens him.
“I really think by the time we come to summer, one way or the other, probably through wide distribution of a vaccine, we’ll be out of this. But when the government says: ‘Well then we’re going to put in another $100 billion of stimulus’ – that frightens me a little bit because I think the stimulus will happen without the government at that point,” RioCan REIT Chief Executive Officer Ed Sonshine said in a television interview Tuesday.
“While a lot of their spending now is necessary, I’m not sure the future [spending] will be.”
Justin Trudeau’s government unveiled its plan to spur the country’s post-pandemic recovery during its fiscal update Monday, stating that it will spend another $70 billion to $100 billion of additional stimulus over the next three years. Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland also revised higher the country’s national deficit this year to $381.6 billion, or 17.5 per cent of gross domestic product, up from a deficit of 1.7 per cent of GDP last year.
Sonshine said he thinks a lot of the government money spent for programs like the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) has been “wasted” as some of the recipients may not have needed the aid.
“Maybe the government has no other way to do it,” he said. “It’s a bit of a scattergun approach.”