Fresh Takes

Federal deficits: $175 billion too much

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Simply put, there’s just one word to remember from yesterday’s economic update: deficits.

The current federal government has presented four red-ink budgets since 2015. In all, over $51 billion in cumulative deficits have been added to the country’s debt.

The bad news doesn’t stop there

Re-elected with a minority in October, the government has just announced that the deficit for the current year (2019-2020) will not be $19.8 billion, as projected, but rather $26.6 billion! Recall that the government was supposed to have returned to a balanced budget by now…

Instead, the debt that it will leave to future generations just keeps growing. From budget to budget, from economic update to economic update, the commitment to sound public finances has been abandoned, kicking the can further down the road.

Including the budget deficit for this year and those for the next five years, another $124 billion will be added to the debt.

The total cumulative deficit for 10 years, then, would be $175 billion according to current projections. This is irresponsible, and unfair to young Canadians who will inevitably have to pay this debt sooner or later.

Time to change course

The federal government should show far greater budgetary rigour. Accumulating deficits in times of economic growth is ill-advised, and weakens Canada’s position faced with a possible economic slowdown.

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