More federal deficits are not OK

Published Oct. 8 2019

To the Editor

Our government deficit and debt are becoming important topics as we approach the federal election. For the fiscal year ended March 31 2018 the federal debt was $671 billion. The deficit was $19 billion although federal revenues in 2017-18 were up by a healthy $20 billion from the prior year. For the year ended March 31 2019 revenues increased by another $21 billion yet a deficit was posted of $14 billion. How was it possible to lose so much money in such good years?
Here’s how. Program expenses increased dramatically in 2018 and 2019. The Trudeau government made the policy choice to spend the extra revenue plus billions more instead of paying down the debt or saving for a rainy day. In March 2019 the net debt had risen to $685 billion.

What a shame. Spending every dollar of revenue and then some has become a trademark of the Trudeau government which originally promised moderate deficits leading to a balanced budget for 2019-20 but has given us structural deficits instead. According to the Fraser Research Institute of all the prime ministers who did not face a global conflict or economic downturn during their tenure Justin Trudeau is expected to be the largest debt accumulator in Canada’s history.
It may surprise you to know that Liberal prime ministers have made the greatest reductions to the federal debt since Confederation in periods without world war or economic downturn: Lester B. Pearson (-6%) Paul Martin (-8%) and Jean Chretien (-13%).  Yet here we are with more deficits promised and no end in sight. Have you heard Mr. Trudeau talk about budget cuts? Of course not.

According to the Liberals’ platform their new election commitments will result in a $27 billion deficit in 2020-21 and continued deficits for the next four years with no plan for a balanced budget. The Conservatives say they plan to balance the budget in five years but at the same time are offering billions in tax cuts and credits. How do you do that Mr. Scheer? Canada the land of unending spending.

F. R. Shuttleworth