Conservatives Promise Return to Surplus by 2015-15
OTTAWA – Finance Minister Flaherty predicts Canada will balance the books and return to a surplus budget position.
Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, today released the annual Update of Economic and Fiscal Projections at the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, which confirms that the Government remains on track to balance the budget in 2015, with an expected surplus of $3.7 billion in 2015–16.
“Our Government understands the importance of responsible spending and balanced budgets for long-term economic growth and stability. We’re on track to get back to balance in 2015, without raising taxes or cutting investments in health care and social services transfers, as promised,” said Minister Flaherty. “Balanced budgets keep interest rates down and mean that taxes will stay low, maintaining Canada’s position as an attractive place to invest, and ensuring sustainable social programs for our children and grandchildren. In short, balanced budgets signal stability, and today’s Update confirms we are on track to meet our balanced budget commitment.”
The news doesn’t impress the Liberals. Deputy Liberal Leader Ralph Goodale says, “Mr. Harper has escalated federal government spending to an all-time record high in excess of $280-billion annually. He has run six consecutive deficits, adding some $160-billion to accumulated federal debt and pushing Canada’s debt burden to an all-time record high of more than $620-billion.
“Canada’s debt-to-GDP ratio is no better than when he first took office nearly eight years ago — even though the recession (which he blames for everything) ended more than four years ago. He recently postponed his target for any significant debt-ratio improvement until 2021.” added Goodale. “Among the things for which Mr. Harper is increasing his spending is the grossly misleading government advertising — all those irritating “economic action plan” TV ads, for example. Just 30-seconds of air-time for just one of those commercials costs taxpayers close to $100,000!”
Minister Flaherty also noted that the global economy remains fragile, as uncertainty remains about the resilience of emerging economies and how the U.S. will reduce its debt. “Ongoing global uncertainty and recent examples from around the world of the consequences of ongoing and growing deficits make it even more important for Canada to remain focused on balanced budgets,” said Minister Flaherty.
In his remarks, Minister Flaherty highlighted recent actions the Government has taken in response to the global economic recession, as well as more recent initiatives to support economic growth such as freezing the Employment Insurance premium rate and reaching an agreement in principle with the European Union on the historic Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.
“The impact of our Government’s economic measures is clear: Canada has created over one million new jobs over the recovery—the best record of all G-7 countries, business investment growth has been the strongest in the G-7 over the recovery, our net debt ratio is the lowest in the G-7, and we have the lowest tax burden as a percentage of the economy in over 50 years,” said the Minister. “Canada is now one of only a handful of countries that continues to receive a triple A credit rating, with a stable outlook, from all the major credit rating agencies. By continuing to remain squarely focused on the long view, and taking strong, decisive action whenever necessary along the way, Canada will remain on the right track.”