How the deficit is being eliminated

by Aaron Wherry

The Parliamentary Budget Officer hasn’t received enough information to do a full analysis, but he says it seems like government services are being cut to eliminate the deficit.

The report is based on a fraction of the information Page sought from about 80 departments, but the projected savings they provided paints a very different picture of the nature of the cuts from what many expected when the budget was unveiled in March. “There are significant reductions that could have potential service level impacts,” said Page. “Minister Flaherty indicated when the budget was tabled that the majority of reductions relate to back office operations in government (and) they don’t relate to service delivery… The information provided by departments indicate only a small proportion of restraint relates to internal service reductions… to the extent there was a surprise, that was it.”

About 85 per cent of the savings appear to come from programs for Canadians and the cost of operating them, which places the reductions closer to the front-line than the government originally suggested. The big cuts are in programs in the areas of international, immigration and defence at $1.7 billion; social programs at $784 million, general government services at $716 million, and security and public safety at $688 million.

The PBO’s full report is here.




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How the deficit is being eliminated

  1. Once again, the moves the Conservatives make are shrouded in secrecy. Once again the PBO is denied the information to do his job properly and responsibly.

    What the hell happened to Harper’s promise of “transparency and accountability?”

    Many conservative posters laugh at the notion that Harper has a secret agenda, but there is no denying his clandestine ways – always taking the back door route.
    If this is “accountability” then all of us are being played for fools

  2. Meanwhile in a related announcement weight-loss experts have discovered that fat people who eat less will lose weight.

    How did we survive before Kevin Page ?

    • Maybe you should direct that question to Harper. His government created the office, after all.

      • I guess Harper is second-guessing the appointment of a PBO who announces that government services are being cut to help eliminate the deficit—such a profound statement—imagine—a Canadian government cutting government spending in order to reduce the deficit.

        • If the wisdom of such cuts is so self-evident, why doesn’t his government supply the numbers to back it up?

          • For the same reason why many Americans who voted Obama say they would like their government to reduce their deficit by increasing taxes (not theirs), by reducing gov`t spending (but implement ObamaCare) become energy self-sufficient (but no Keystone).

            When it comes to dealing with reality many voters and almost all the media will say they want a better economy and then vehemently protest actions that will achieve that goal.

          • Well, now, there’s a patronizing, condescending view of the electorate: the government knows better than the citizenry what to do with their money, because they’re collectively too stupid to make the right choices. We’re hiding the facts from them for their own good.

            Furthermore, your reference to the American political context is totally irrelevant. If you want to make a meaningful comparison between our situation and theirs, how about starting with their Congressional Budget Office which, by all accounts, has unfettered access to government accounts and estimates?

          • Get back to me in a couple years when Obama voters hit the streets because their Leader has just told them he can`t afford Obamacare.

            Reality sucks—and it`s about to hit Americans hard—-forget about unfettered access.

          • Hey, stay on topic here. We’re talking about the PBO’s need for access to government budget numbers, not the American election, so don’t blow the issue off by inviting critics to come back in a couple of years. The cuts we are debating are apparently happening now.

          • Andrew is the con-man’s wet dream; a mark who is absolutely confident that he’s in on the con. He’s the kind of sucker you can stiff over and over and over again, a sucker who will defend your honesty and your scheme even as you bleed him of his last nickel. You can betray him over and over again and he will swear to your loyalty on a stack of bibles.

            And if you point this out to him, he has a simple response. It’s because he is smart and you are stupid.

          • My original point here was to display the naivete of Page and others like him ( Wherry,Obama, Igarvin) if they cannot understand that if providing excessive services for the citizenry (see Greece) is not checked, then you cannot eliminate the deficit.
            I`m sure governments would love it if they could talk to all the people the way your banker talks to you when you`re in severe overdraft, but as I said human nature being the way it is, sensitive souls like Igarvin just can`t handle the truth—so relax—things will be alright here—not so much in the USA though.
            So, you aren`t stupid—just overly sensitive.

          • “My original point here was to display the naivete of Page and others
            like him if they cannot understand… in believing the governments bald-faced lies.”

            Fixed.

          • lenny:
            Nothing the government will do to ease the debt burden on future generations will satisfy those who are so selfish that they will not give up any of today`s services.

          • We’re discussing a government which has increased the debt burden on future generations.

          • So, hiding the numbers from the great unwashed who contribute to the public coffers is justified in your universe. It sure smells of arrogance around here.

        • This is the same government that does not trust Canadians with information on what services are being cut, or even that the cuts are taking place. Our benevolent rulers are surely behaving in the interest of the greater good.

    • I guess we’d just be left with the finance minister telling us the exact opposite of what you seem to believe is so obvious:

      “”The majority of the spending review reductions relate to back-office
      operations in government. They don’t relate to service delivery by
      government”

  3. “There are significant reductions that could have potential service level impacts,” said Page.

    Well at least Harper is protecting the environment via streamlined regulations.

  4. Huh. Didn’t expect defence would be on the list of the big areas.

    I thought that was the go-to place for conservative supporters where even hard-core libertarians felt comfortable with spending.

    Then again, given what happened with the ice-breakers.. err… ice-breaker.. uh.. patrol boats.. (have we reached the “two inner tubes and a Tim Horton’s coupon” level yet?) Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised.

    • If I were the libs or NDP, I think it would be a vote getter to divert military spending away from the foreign adventure we got bogged down in for a decade and putting in place the ice breakers promised since Mulroney. Something like “Conservatives have botched northern defence for 30 years and jets for 10. We’ll get the first up and running and with whatever’s left over we’ll look at jets, with an open bidding process.”

  5. So, Aaron, you’re telling us that PBOfficer Page is not going to court over this? Really, Page is gonna break his promise? How disappointing! Was so looking forward to following the court procedures:

    Judge: so you would like to oversee the government expenditures?

    Page: and the none-expenditures!

    Judge: but that’s impossible!

    Page: but it says here that if I can make it possible within my mandate that I have the rights to it.

    Judge: the rights to oversee the none-expenditures?

    Page: so they say!

    Judge: case dismissed.

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