FEDERAL DEFICIT PROJECTION GROWS, MARCH BUDGET DATE ANNOUNCED
Feb 22, 2016
By Bob Komsic
Finance Minister Bill Morneau presented new deficit projections during a pre-budget town hall event in Ottawa.
The Trudeau government says it’ll post a smaller than projected deficit of $2.3-billion for 2015-16, down from $3-billion projected in last fall’s fiscal update.
But it will balloon to $18.4-billion in 2016-17 and $15.5-billion in 2017-18.
Those are dramatically different numbers than the $3.9-billion and $2.4-billion shortfalls from last fall, and well above the $10-billion ceiling promised by the Liberals.
Once the government’s infrastructure spending promises are factored in, those deficit projections will likely rise.
Morneau says the revised numbers take into account sharp declines in the price of crude and continued uncertainty in the global economy.
The finance minister says Canada’s economy was too vulnerable when faced with a combination of the drop in oil prices and the state of the world economy.
He blamed the previous Harper government, accusing the Conservatives of band-aid solutions and inaction.
Interim Tory Leader Rona Ambrose fired back, blaming the soaring deficit on ”uncontrolled, permanent, new spending.”
She calls its reckless, irresponsible because she feels Morneau and the prime minister are not able to make decisions they need to make to respect taxpayers’ money.
The finance minister, who announced the budget will be delivered March 22, says the Liberals will focus on investments in infrastructure, innovation, measures to help the middle class and country’s most vulnerable.