With the plunge in oil prices over the last six months (and already soft natural gas prices), it’s not headline news to note that provinces heavily dependent on energy-related revenues are suffering.
Ontario’s provincial government wants a balanced budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year, and Finance Minister Charles Sousa is adamant that Ontario will reach that goal.
Many Ontarians have likely heard a horror story or two about their government’s growing debt and the resulting strain on public finances. You can’t blame them. Sources of evidence abound.
Lost in the current flurry of Ontarios election campaign is the one key issue facing the province, and indeed all of Canada: Ontarios laggard economic performance is dragging down the national economy.
With federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty poised to unveil his 2014 budget on February 11th, early signs point to a business-as-usual budget with his government staying focused on eliminating the deficit in 2015 and creating the fiscal room to provide tax relief in next year's budget conveniently right before the 2015 federal election campaign.
While Premier Christy Clark aims to create an environment where growth and investment can flourish, little has been achieved since last years electoral victory. If Premier Clark is to help British Columbians obtain the desired prosperity and jobs, her top economic priority should be to make BC the most investment-friendly jurisdiction in Canada.
Heres whats needed.
Another year has come and gone and Ontario's weak public finances remain largely unchanged. The provincial government did little to improve its fiscal position in 2013 and recently signalled it intends to continue with debt-financed spending into the New Year. But the status quo isnt serving Ontarians well. For 2014, the government should chart a new course that places provincial finances on a more sound footing. That would be a much-needed New Year's resolution for Canadas largest province.
With the holiday season now behind us, the oncoming flood of credit statements to Canadian households is a powerful reminder that there are no free lunches. Borrowing to pay for current consumption brings interest payments, and ultimately, the need to pay off principal balances. Most Canadians are intimately familiar with this reality when it comes to their household finances. But this same reality also applies to governments. As taxpayers, Canadian families are also responsible for interest on government debt. And these payments are significant.
Over the course of the past several months, outgoing Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney and Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty have repeatedly warned that Canadians are spending beyond their means and taking on too much debt.
A concern of the Bank of Canada...has been the pace of growth of household debt Carney recently noted. Minister Flaherty added, While interest rates are currently low by historical standards, eventually they will rise. Canadians should . understand this when taking on significant debt