Reuters gets hold of the latest projections from the Parliamentary Budget Officer.
Mr. Page forecasts a deficit of $48.6-billion this year, slightly lower than the government’s estimate of $50.2-billion. But he projects a shortfall of $41.3-billion in 2010-11, $27.6-billion in 2011-12, $21.6-billion in 2012-13 and $16.7-billion in 2013-14. He says the deficits from 2012 to 2014 will be structural rather than cyclical, but small nonetheless at less than 1% of GDP.
Time for another retrospective?
Feb. 5, 2008. “The way to manage this economy through difficult global times is not—as the Liberal Party would do—to drive us into deficit.”
Oct. 14, 2008. “We’ll never go back into deficit.”
Oct. 17, 2008. “I believe, based on everything I’ve seen so far, that there’s no reason why the government of Canada won’t stay in balance, why we can’t maintain a balanced budget this year,” Harper said, speaking after a meeting in Quebec City with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. But for future years, he said it would be premature to say if his government will be able to maintain a surplus. “Others are speculating about future years. I don’t think we’re yet in position to know all the information in that regard and I think it would be premature to speculate on that.”
Nov. 6, 2008. “One message was very clear. Don’t be afraid to run a deficit if the deficit is in the best interests of the economy.”
Nov. 24, 2008. “The government of Canada today is in surplus,” he said Sunday at the conclusion of the summit. “The government of Canada today is not planning a deficit. But if the government of Canada decides … that we do have to engage in fiscal stimulus, that government spending is essential not just to shore up economic activity but investment markets, that would be the occasion we would go into what would be called a cyclic or a short-term deficit. But we would only do that if we can assure ourselves that we can do that while preserving a structural surplus, that any return to a normal level of economic growth will immediately take us out of deficit. And that’s the only condition under which we would consider that set of actions.”
Nov. 27, 2008. “Mr. Speaker, as I have said many times, Canada is not currently running a deficit and this is thanks to the good management of the Minister of Finance, who will present his economic and fiscal update later today.”
Dec. 1, 2008. “If we run a deficit of $30 billion in this country, we are running a structural deficit. It took a long time to get out of that problem. We have taken the long-term view, the view that says we have to help Canadian business with the Bank of Canada, with Bill C-50, with ensuring adequate credit in this country. There are more provisions in that regard in the fall economic statement, all good for the country, not running big deficits.”
Dec. 16, 2008. “We’re going to have to run a deficit, do some spending measures we hadn’t planned on doing, but I think, if we do those things, we should be able to come out of this (economic downturn) pretty strong in due course.”
Jan. 23, 2009. “I think we’re in a rare time where you need a deficit.”
May 14, 2009. “Our deficits will be large, but they will be temporary,” Harper told Quebec municipal leaders gathered for an annual convention. “In fact, in the short term, they will be as large as they have to be to help us weather this recession. As a country, we can afford it. But only if these deficits are temporary and our stimulus spending ends when the recession ends.”
May 26, 2009. “We will run a substantial short-term deficit this year which I would estimate at more than $50 billion.”
June 11, 2009. “Our deficit will be significant but is affordable.”
June 13, 2009. “He’s wrong,” Flaherty told journalists in a conference call from a G8 finance ministers’ meeting in Lecce, Italy. “Because he says growth rates likely will be slower than I had predicted. Now, if you make an assumption with respect to lower growth rates, then you get the results that he postulates. But anybody can do that.”
June 25, 2009. “If you take out the one-time spending, we have a deficit of only about 1.5% of GDP and we should easily recover from that in the two years following the recession.”
(Note: Most are the comments of the Prime Minister, but a few are excerpted from remarks of Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.)