Jim Flaherty vs. The deficit

The New Democrats and Liberals are unimpressed with the Finance Minister’s economic update. And Jim Flaherty faces the possibility that the federal budget won’t be returned to balance when the Conservative seek re-election in 2015.

Mr. Flaherty was asked at the luncheon about not being able to balance the budget during the Harper mandate, before an election scheduled for 2015. “I’ll be frank with you. I don’t play with numbers, the numbers are the numbers,” the minister bristled. He said it was not a “significant” amount.

He noted that $1.8-billion is “a little more than half a percent of the federal budget,” which is about $275-billion. “We are talking about relatively small amounts of money in the big picture,” he said. “The good news is we are on track.”

The government recently conceded that the deficit was structural.

Here is a chart from the CBC that details federal surpluses and deficits between 1963 and 2011. If you assume that today’s updated projections will hold true, the Conservatives will have run surpluses (non-adjusted) of $13.8 and $9.6 billion, followed by deficits of $5.8, $55.6, $33.4, $26.2, $26.0, $16.5 and $8.6 billion between 2006 and 2015.

As was noted around the bureau this afternoon, several of the Conservative party’s 2011 campaign promises were linked to a return to balance. Income sharing for couples with children under the age of 18, the children’s fitness tax credit, the adult fitness tax credit and doubling the tax-free savings account limit were all to be “implemented when the federal budget is balanced within our next full term of office.”




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Jim Flaherty vs. The deficit

  1. What’s a billion?

    • A little less than a brazilian…ask George Bush?

    • I always want to know this too. And I also want to know if it is really, honest-to-God true that a U.K. billion and a U.S. billion are really different things–not just currency, a billion anything, and if so, why the hell wouldn’t the world economy be in the tank? How could it ever not be when one country takes 90% off the top?

  2. There has been too much bristling, and too little brain.

  3. “Flaherty faces the possibility that the federal budget won’t be returned to balance when the Conservative seek re-election in 2015.”

    Flaherty will claim a pre-election balanced budget whether it is true or not.

  4. Flaherty’s record as federal finance minister is an echo of his performance in the same role in Ontario, where he was racking up (and hiding) deficits when he and his cronies were kicked out of office.

    • We won’t know Canada’s economic shape until the CPC is removed from office.

  5. “… 2011 campaign promises were linked to a return to balance.”

    Cons have increased revenue and spending considerably but will be claiming cupboard is bare, that taxpayers can eat cake!

    White Queen ~ The rule is, jam tomorrow and jam yesterday – but never jam today

  6. Remember the mess these guys left Ontario in, everyone. They lied about the numbers then, they are probably lying now. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a running deficit around $10 billion come 2015 (assuming a different government forms and looks at the books).

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