About those estimates

More confusion over the government's spending

Yesterday, Tony Clement decided it was too early to make much of the main estimates. Scott Clark and Peter DeVries argue Mr. Clement’s previous pronouncement about those estimates should be disregarded.

The President of the Treasury Board tabled the Main Estimates for 2013-14 on February 26, 2013.  He claimed that “voted” expenditures were down $4.9 billion from that tabled for 2012-13 in February 2012.  Although his math is correct, the statement is extremely misleading…

Voted expenditures for 2013-14 are not directly comparable to those for 2012-13, as the former includes the impact of the various expenditure reductions announced in the March 2012 Budget.  The voted expenditures for 2012-13 were tabled before the March 2012 Budget and do not include any of the restraint reductions announced in the Budget.  The impact of these restraint measures on departmental spending was requested by the Parliamentary Budget Officer but refused by the Government.  No aggregate estimate of the March 2012 Budget expenditure restraint measures was provided in the Main Estimates for either 2012-13 or 2013-14 so that it is not possible to determine how much of the $4.9 billion decline was overstated. Given that the Estimates for these two years are not on the same basis, meaning that the statement that the 2013-14 voted expenditures are $4.9 billion lower than those tabled in 2012-13 is misleading.