Randeep Sarai appointed as the new chair of LPC Pacific Caucus

SURREY, BC – Liberal British Columbia Members of Parliament chose Randeep Sarai to be the new Pacific Caucus Chair this week.

“Over the past twelve months our government has been working hard to accomplish real change and we are keeping to the promises that we made in the last federal election. It’s been a busy and exciting year for British Columbia and there is still much work to be done,” said Randeep Sarai.

“I’m honoured to have been chosen by my British Columbia colleagues to represent them as Pacific Caucus Chair, I’m looking forward to working together to help build a stronger and more prosperous Canada as well as work to ensure that British Columbia is the best place to call home.” said MP Sarai.

As a community leader, a lawyer and a real estate developer, Randeep Sarai has invariably focused his efforts in Surrey. His dedication and excellency in these endeavors have framed his ability to be diligent, inventive and devoted when representing you as your Member of Parliament for Surrey–Centre.

Randeep was born in Vancouver and raised in South Burnaby. He graduated from UBC with a Bachelor of Arts and went on to complete his Bachelor of Laws Born at Queen`s University in Kingston, Ontario. He was a Founder and has served as a Director of Virsa – Supporting Youth Strengthening Families Society and helped start South Asian Community Coalition Against Youth Violence, which successfully championed for the creation of the Integrated Gang Task Force. Randeep has been engaged in community work from a very young age, much of it learned through the examples set by his late Father. “Giving back” were common words used and discussed in the Sarai household. He supported his Father to raise funds to fight against Polio thru the local Rotary Club, build their local temple, and organize food drives.

Randeep has also always been passionate about civic responsibility, including the need to make positive contributions to public policy, participation in the electoral processes at all levels, and supporting initiatives that focused on enhancing the quality of life for those less fortunate. Randeep regularly participates and comments on municipal bylaw issues, public policy issues and has been regular commentator on political issues on local Metro Vancouver media outlets.

Currently, he and his wife, Sarbjeet, are raising three children who attend Surrey schools and are very active in sports, recreation, arts and cultural activities. During his spare time, Randeep cherishes time with his family, including the newest member, a young Labrador puppy named Mr. Cuddles, and enjoys activities such as yoga, soccer and jogging.

He is committed to making Surrey the most transit friendly, low crime, metropolitan centre in Canada. Randeep believes the right voice, sound understanding and a commitment to a multi pronged approach can curb the current crime escalation that plagues the city and prevent any further increase in traffic congestion.

Liberals project $30B deficit and do not plan a return to surplus by 2019

By Bruce Cheadle, The Canadian Press |

OTTAWA — The new Liberal government delivered a sunny ways budget Tuesday brimming with optimism and billion-dollar spending increases spread across a wide spectrum of Canadian society.

But the bold effort to spur economic growth after almost a decade of fiscal restraint will add more than $100 billion to the federal debt over the next five years as Finance Minister Bill Morneau plunges Ottawa back into the red.

And like March sunshine in the frozen national capital, there’s concern that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s bright budget may not heat up the economy quite as much as the Liberals promised it would.

“We act for the years and decades to come,” Morneau said in his maiden budget speech in the House of Commons.

“We act for our children and our children’s children.”

There’s billions in new spending on infrastructure, Aboriginal Peoples, and transfers to middle and lower income Canadians in a budget blueprint framed by Morneau in terms of Canada’s great post-war expansion of the last century.

“Confidence inspired investment,” Morneau said of those high-growth, post-war decades. “Investment inspired confidence.”

The Liberals claim their budget will create 100,000 jobs and boost national economic growth, as measured by gross domestic product, by half a percentage point per year — a huge increase on a $2 trillion economy.

The promised sunny future comes with an immediate fiscal chill.

The Liberals are projecting a $29.4-billion deficit in 2016-17, followed by a $29-billion shortfall the following year and almost $23 billion in 2018-19. Over the next five years, Tuesday’s budget shows $113.2 billion in red ink, including a $14.3 billion shortfall for 2020-21 — after the next scheduled federal election.

During last year’s campaign, the Liberals promised “modest deficits” of no more than $10 billion over the course of their mandate and to balance the books by 2019-20.

Times, it seems, have changed: The word “deficit” appeared nowhere in Morneau’s budget speech, nor did “spending.” “Investment,” on the other hand, registered 22 times.

The relatively slim, 269-page document is packed with spending promises for all and sundry on every page. The final Conservative budget of April 2015, by contrast, weighed in at 518 pages while ratcheting down spending in a government-wide effort to show an election-year surplus.

“I think budget 2016 runs the risk of over-reaching,” said Craig Alexander, vice-president of economic affairs at the C.D. Howe Institute.

“The reality is the amount of money they have to make an impact is relatively limited.”

It’s the central paradox of the first Liberal budget: while plunging the country back into deficit, Liberal spending is constrained by a worse-than-anticipated economy that forced the government to spread its election promises over a longer time frame.

Put another way, the federal deficit balloons by almost $25 billion in 2016-17, yet new budgetary measures are costed at only $11.57 billion. New spending the following year is forecast at $14.9 billion.

“The challenge the government has faced is how do you actually deliver on as many of your election promises as you can, but with a binding fiscal constraint?” said Alexander.

Over the last three years, federal spending was held to an average 0.4 per cent increase per year, said Mary Webb, senior economist at Scotiabank. The next three years show average increases of 6.3 per cent.

“How do you close this gap here?” Webb wondered, short of tax increases or sharp cuts down the road.

The budget promises a slew of studies and commissions to develop more innovative economic policy, presumably with future price tags on top of the many funding announcements in the current budget.

These include:

  • $8.4 billion over five years to help indigenous communities, including $2 billion on water and wastewater systems in First Nations and $2.6 billion over five years for primary and secondary education on reserves.
  • $10 billion more over two years for a new Canada child benefit, absorbing and replacing both the Canada child tax benefit and the universal child care benefit.
  • $6.6 billion over two years for infrastructure, less than the $10 billion promised in the Liberal election platform.
  • $3.4 billion over five years to increase the guaranteed income supplement top-up benefit for single seniors, and restore the old age security eligibility age to 65 from 67.
  • $2 billion over three years for a new strategic investment fund for infrastructure improvements at colleges and universities.
  • $2 billion over two years for a low-carbon economy fund, beginning in 2017-18.

Jean-Francois Perrault, chief economist at Scotiabank who served as a deputy minister at Finance Canada until the end of 2015, said the Liberals are over-confident in their projections of the budget’s impact on Canada’s economic growth.

But he repeatedly praised the budget’s many specifics.

“There’s a lot of interesting stuff in there,” said Perrault. “It’s a smartly designed piece of policy, no question about that.”

Mulcair releases full platform, halving the surplus previously projected for an NDP government

The Canadian Press

MONTREAL — An NDP government would make trade talks more transparent, reform the electoral system and ban bulk water exports, under the party’s full policy platform released Friday.
The New Democrats are also acknowledging that the surplus they had previously forecast for their first budget could be cut in half.
Trying to capitalize on criticism of the Harper government over recent TransPacific Partnership trade talks, the NDP is promising to make international trade negotiations more open to public scrutiny.
“Stephen Harper has failed to get the best deal for Canada and Justin Trudeau is ready to go along with him,” NDP Leader Tom Mulcair said in prepared remarks, referring to the trade deal announced earlier in the week.
The NDP policy platform, released in Montreal, also proposes a total ban on bulk water exports across international boundaries, a move designed to counter Liberal party claims that Mulcair once supported the practice as a Quebec cabinet minister.
The 72-page platform broadly outlines all of the campaign pledges the NDP has made so far in their quest to form government after Oct. 19.
But the document also includes a new “sensitivity analysis,” which incorporates the most recent projections from the parliamentary budget office.
In its costing document released earlier in the election campaign, the New Democrats had promised to balance the federal budget in fiscal 2016-17, and predicted a $4.1 billion surplus for the year.
The new platform includes a projection made in July by the PBO, which forecast a $2.4 billion surplus, based on the Bank of Canada’s July Monetary Policy Report.
While many of the commitments had not been formally announced during the election campaign, most of the promises have been talked about by the NDP over the last few years while the party was in official Opposition.
These include a pledge to give the information commissioner the power to force departments to release information to the public and to eliminate excessive fees above $5 charged by the government to access information.
The New Democrats have also resurrected plans to pass a new Consumer Protection Act that would, among other things, cap ATM fees at 50 cents a transaction and create a gasoline ombudsman to investigate complaints about prices at the pump.
As well, the party wants to bring in a mixed-member, proportional representation voting system and is committing to ensure that Canadians living abroad have the right to vote.
It also promises to phase out interest on all federal student loans.