Last fall, the federal government released an economic update presented by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland.
It is not unusual for a finance minister to promote a budget or budget update; it is expected.
However, two aspects of this budget update stood out to me. The first was that the Liberal government expressed hope to achieve a balanced budget by the 2027/2028 fiscal period.
This stood out because, until now, Prime Minister Trudeau has not tried to balance the budget. He is known for once stating that “the budget will balance itself.”
The following comment from the finance minister also struck me. “As the Bank of Canada fights inflation, we will not make its job harder.”
This comment is significant because it is the first time a minister from the Liberal government has publicly acknowledged that their deficit-related spending contributes to increased inflation.
As many struggling families know, when the Bank of Canada raises interest rates, it creates severe financial hardship in many households.
This problem has become so severe that seniors on fixed incomes are forced to sell their homes because they can no longer afford the payments. What’s worse is that many seniors have nowhere else to go.
One challenge for the minority Liberal Government is that it entered into an agreement with the NDP to gain political support. In exchange, they committed to implementing NDP programs involving significant federal government spending.
The Governor of the Bank of Canada, Tiff Macklem, addressed this, saying; “For next year, we expect government spending to grow at about 2.5%.”
Unfortunately, most of this spending is funded by borrowing, which increases our deficit. Consequently, the debt also increases, and with higher interest rates, the government faces higher borrowing costs related to the debt.
This year, the March budget initially projected that debt servicing would reach $43.9 billion and increase to $50.3 billion by 2027.
As some have observed, while interest rates have increased since March, debt servicing costs have also increased.
Meanwhile, the NDP persists in calling for additional programs that will only contribute to further unsustainable spending.
This leads to my question for this week: Is the NDP-Liberal support deal in Ottawa serving Canada well? Why or why not?
I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll-free at 1-800-665-8711.
Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola.