Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced Friday that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s deficit next year will be bigger than the $9.9 billion figure he campaigned on during the election.
Ditto for the following year, when it was supposed to be $9.5 billion, and for the third year when it was supposed to be $5.7 billion, before recording a surplus of just over $1 billion in 2019-20.
Of course, Morneau didn’t say it that way.
What he said -- in the eternal battle cry of incoming finance ministers everywhere when the government changes hands -- was that the previous Conservative government painted a rosier picture of Ottawa’s books than the facts warranted.
Where the Stephen Harper government promised a surplus of $2.3 billion this year, Morneau said, the real figure is a $3 billion deficit, followed by $3.9 billion next year.
While Morneau wouldn’t explicitly say it when questioned by reporters, what this means for all practical purposes is that the Liberal deficits will likely be somewhere around $13 billion and $16 billion for the next two years, as opposed to the Trudeau promise of just under $10 billion annually.
After that, it’s anyone’s guess.
As for whether Morneau’s figures are accurate, there’s no question collapsed world oil prices are having an increasingly negative impact on Canada’s economy, although the non-partisan parliamentary budget office (PBO) says Canada will have a $1.2 billion surplus this year, lower than the Conservative prediction of $2.3 billion, but better than Morneau’s of a $3 billion deficit.
However, after that, the PBO expects a series of annual deficits more in line with Morneau’s thinking.
What it means is that the Trudeau Liberals, who were elected promising to deliver $25.1 billion in deficits over the next three years, figure the public won’t care if that number now jumps to over $30 billion to pay for their campaign promises like tax cuts and increased infrastructure spending.
Of course, since deficits are simply deferred tax hikes, Canadians will be paying more in the long run.
Which is no surprise, considering that Trudeau ran and won on a platform of increasing deficits for the next three years, not balancing the books.
source: Trudeau's deficits poised to rise | EDITORIAL | Editorial | Opinion | Toronto Su