Liberal leaders in Ottawa are under pressure today as new estimations of the country’s budget deficit appear larger than previously suggested.
Talking at a community centre in the east of the capital, Finance Minister Bill Morneau tried to reassure voters, saying that his party was doing the right thing – but that “short-term” deficits would be larger than expected.
The government had previously promised to cap the deficit at around $10 billion.
Morneau made the argument for new investments, to “transform” the economy for the Canadian people, and especially the middle-class.
Standing to speak, with shirt sleeves rolled up to the elbow, and using teleprompters for his message, Mr Moreau emphasised he was “reaffirming” to people that the government’s approach is the “right approach.”
Stephen Harper, former prime minister, had promised Canada would see a surplus in the billions. And according to Conservative leader Rona Ambrose, the government are guilty of “frittering away” a surplus in the economy that they inherited.
A former parliamentary budget officer, Kevin Page, spoke to the Power Play programme on CTV. He said there are “holes’ in the released budgetary plans that are not properly explained.
Now a teacher of public finance at the university level, Mr Page pointed to the $40 billion of growth slashed from the figures on predicted private sector income for 2016 to 2017.
The Liberals, for their part, say they are dealing with an economy that is significantly weaker. Page pointed out that on a yearly basis, the Canadian economy isn’t effectively growing, and the extra stimulus planned could provide a vital boost in the longer term.
For Canadians worried about the implications for the future generations, the arguments ring hollow. Aaron Wudrick, director of the Canada Taxpayers’ Association, called the government out for “abandoning” its own commitments on spending, saying this latest announcement should concern everyone in the country.