Undoubtedly one of the most pressing economic issues of the
1990s is concern about the level of government expenditures.
The ongoing deficits at the federal level as well as the
failure of most provinces to balance their budgets, together
with the rising burden of public debt interest costs will
continue to focus public attention on the activities of
government. The purpose of this book is to provide a
compilation and analysis of government spending both currently
and historically. This information will better enable Canadians
to assess government activities and to place both current
developments and the claims of government in perspective.
Almost invariably, when a Minister of government is
approached on the subject of the "excessive" expenditure of his
or her government, the response is, "Which expenditures should
be cut? Give me some suggestions as to where we can cut
expenditures." This is a fairly safe demand for politicians to
make since most Canadians, including the politician, have very
little information about how government currently spends the
funds it absorbs from the private sector. This book and the
ongoing project associated with it provide Canadians with
comprehensive information about how the three levels of
government spend taxpayers' money.
Chapter 1 presents expenditures of all levels of government
on sixteen categories of expenditure, ranging from culture and
recreation to the protection of persons and property. Chapter 2
analyzes the distribution of total government spending by
province without regard to the level of government involved.
Chapter 3 provides a compilation of the expenditures of the
federal government by province and the opportunity to compare
total federal expenditure in each of the provinces with the
revenue that is raised in the province. Chapter 4 discusses the
ways in which provinces spend their tax dollars and shows how
spending priorities differ by province. Chapter 5 provides an
indication of expenditures on public debt interest charges.
The final chapter presents a preliminary analysis of the
extent to which Canadians at different income levels benefit
from government expenditure.