What changed? - Macleans.ca

What changed?

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From Question Period this morning, here is Peter Van Loan explaining the government’s case against the Parliamentary Budget Office.

As for the Parliamentary Budget Officer, it was just months ago that he was saying that we have real demographic challenges and it was important for the government to take action. It was just months ago when he said there was a structural deficit and he wanted to see action taken to address that. All of a sudden, he has said these are no longer issues. I am missing the report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer where he commends this government for having solved all those dramatic problems in just a matter of a couple of months.

In September, Kevin Page released a report on fiscal sustainability that warned of a “fiscal gap.” That report was based on the assumption that the Conservatives would—as Jim Flaherty promised—continue to increase health transfers by six percent each year. And on that note, Mr. Page explained that “the federal fiscal gap would be eliminated if, instead of growing at 6 and 3 per cent respectively beyond 2015-16, the CHT and CST grew in line with nominal GDP.”

Two months after that report, the Finance Minister announced a plan for the Canadian Health Transfer that did exactly that. And so, earlier this week, Mr. Page released his report on Old Age Security, explaining that OAS was sustainable given the Harper government’s new plan on health transfers. If Mr. Van Loan is looking to be commended, he need only read Mr. Page’s report.

Following the renewal of the Canada Health Transfer (CHT) PBO updated its 2011 FSR baseline federal and provincial-territorial fiscal projections to incorporate changes to the CHT escalator over  the long term. As a result of incorporating the new CHT escalator, PBO assessed the fiscal structure at the federal level to be sustainable.