Ottawa

The crunch approaches

Government spending has increased and the future looks expensive.

In figures for government budgeting for the fiscal year to date, the PBO shows health care allocations up by $1.6 billion. That transfer will continue to increase at a six-per-cent clip every year for at least the next four years if the government sticks to its election promises.

Servicing charges on the public debt have also jumped $1.4 billion from the same period a year earlier because higher deficits are more than offsetting the benefits of low interest rates. Those costs, too, will continue to grow as long as the government keeps adding to its debt. And old-age security payments rose $1.1 billion from last year — partly because of a growing number of beneficiaries and partly because the benefit has been enriched.

Kevin Page questions the government’s fiscal plans going forward. Of course, the Conservatives are openly dismissive of Mr. Page at this point.

On health care, the government has apparently considered a transfer formula based on age.