Deficits & Debt

— May 26, 2020
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Prime Ministers and Government Spending: Updated 2020 Edition

Prime Ministers and Government Spending, Updated 2020 Edition finds that total per-person spending in 2020 will reach $13,226, including $3,920 per Canadian in COVID-related spending. This represents a 46.6 per cent increase over the previous highest spending level reached in 2019 of $9,041. Crucially, 2020’s total program spending, after adjusting for inflation, is 50.7 per cent higher than per-person spending during the 2009 recession, and 74.5 per cent higher than the highest point of per-person spending during the Second World War.

— May 26, 2020
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Deferring Federal Taxes: Illustrating the Deficit Using the GST

Deferring Federal Taxes: Illustrating the Deficit Using the GST is a new study that uses the goods and services tax to highlight how much tax the federal government was deferring before the recession. To contextualize the size of the pre-recession deficit, the federal GST (currently five per cent) would have to have been nine per cent in order to balance the budget.

— Apr 28, 2020
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A Friend in Need: How Albertans Continue to Keep Federal Finances Afloat, 2020

A Friend in Need: How Albertans Continue to Keep Federal Finances Afloat, 2020 finds that from 2014 to 2018, Alberta’s net contribution to federal finances was $94.9 billion, by far the largest contribution from any province during that time period. Crucially, Ontario’s net contribution was $58.3 billion, but it’s population in 2018 was more than three times larger than Alberta’s. British Columbia was the only other net contributing province ($29.6 billion) during that time, meaning every other province received more from Ottawa than it sent to Ottawa.

— Feb 27, 2020
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The Budget That Changed Canada: Essays on the 25th Anniversary of the 1995 Budget is a new book of collected essays celebrating Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin’s historic federal budget that tackled head-on the pressing fiscal challenges facing the nation following nearly 30 years of deficits and mounting debt. The 1995 budget, which reduced program spending and led to balanced budgets, shrinking debt and eventually broad-based tax relief, laid the foundation for more than a decade of economic prosperity and is one of the main reasons Canada weathered the 2009 global recession better than most other industrialized countries.

— Feb 19, 2020
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Interest Costs and their Growing Burden on Canadians

Interest Costs and their Growing Burden on Canadians finds that in fiscal year 2019-20, Ottawa will spend more than $24 billion on federal debt interest payments, as the federal debt has increased by more than $260 billion since the 2008-09 recession. The study also compares government debt interest costs among provinces.

— Feb 4, 2020
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Examining Federal Debt in Canada by Prime Ministers Since Confederation, 2020

Examining Federal Debt in Canada by Prime Ministers Since Confederation, 2020 finds that Justin Trudeau is the only prime minister since 1900—and only one of three prime ministers since Confederation—whose government increased Canada’s per-person debt without facing a world war or recession. Compare that to other recent governments led by Jean Chrétien, Paul Martin and Lester B. Pearson whose tenures were also without a world war or recession. The Chrétien government cut per-person federal government debt by 13.3 per cent followed by Martin’s (7.6 per cent) and Pearson’s (6.7 per cent).