Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberal party made a new campaign promise today called “a camping experience for every kid in Canada” which unsurprisingly has another heavy price tag attached to it.
The plan would provide 75,000 low income families the opportunity to spend up to four days in a national or provincial park, subsidized by the federal government. This subsidy would amount to $2,000 bursaries per family which would cost Canadian taxpayers $150 million per year when fully implemented by 2023-24.
Now this may seem like an oddly high, and unnecessary, cost to have more Canadian families visit national parks for the purpose of camping, and you would not be wrong.
Even with the money already allocated to combating gun violence that would mean the Liberal camping program and gun violence prevention would both receive $150 million per year, and that’s leaving out any current spending in the area of public park camping.
From a strategic level this also does not seem like a particularly smart move. The Liberals are already dogged by the right for their high deficit spending, and the traditional left for not focusing enough on labour voters.
This, at least to me, seems like a repeat of former Prime Minister Theresa May’s campaign promise, back in the 2017 United Kingdom snap election, to bring back fox hunting.
It was a frivolous issue which distracted from the United Kingdom’s real problems surrounding Brexit and healthcare. No wonder her party was then reduced to a minority government propped up by the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party.
I think the camping bursaries are a bad idea, but even if they were not a financial stress, the optics of the promise make Justin Trudeau and his party seem profoundly out of touch.
The campaign promise does not come after four years of brilliant economic growth and efficient use of taxpayer’s money, it is just further spending to bolster the Justin Trudeau’s image as the fun Prime Minister.
Polls would not be as close as they are if Canadians were buying it.