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Trudeau’s populist pose could hurt Canada’s economy

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada would reject claims that his leadership style is similar to that of former U.S. President Donald Trump or British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. But in at least in one respect the comparison is getting closer to hitting its target.

To win back the majority government his Liberal Party lost in the 2019 election, Trudeau is engaging in populist pandering that, if acted upon, could damage Canada’s economic performance.

Consider what happened just recently. First the prime minister pledged to ban foreigners from purchasing homes for two years in an effort to cool Canadian housing prices. The goal, he said: “No more foreign wealth being parked in homes that people should be living in.”

The next day, Trudeau announced a plan to impose a 3% surtax on Canada’s largest financial institutions, raising their top rate from 15% to 18%. This would apply to profits of over 1 billion Canadian dollars ($793 million) earned by big banks and insurers.

Whether originating on the right or left, such proposals will backfire, stifling growth and diverting attention from solutions that would actually help solve the problems that people care........

© The Japan Times

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