The Liberals' deficit spending is worse than expected: report

The Department of Finance predicted the current budget deficit would fall to $40.1 billion. Instead, it rose to $46.7 billion. Furthermore, it is projected to increase to $52.1 billion next year—exceeding the annual costs for Medicare ($51.4 billion) and national defence ($30.6 billion).

The Liberals' deficit spending is worse than expected: report
The Canadian Press / Justin Tang
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Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s spending bonanza continues to spiral out of control, with the current deficit surpassing the forecast by 16%.

The Department of Finance predicted the current budget deficit would fall to $40.1 billion. Instead, it rose to $46.7 billion, reported Blacklock’s Reporter.

Freeland last March 28 predicted her deficit would “decline in every year of the forecast.” It didn’t.

According to the PBO, it will rise again to $52.1 billion — exceeding the annual $51.4 billion Medicare bill or the $30.6 billion national defence budget. 

“Compared to our October outlook, we are projecting budgetary deficits that are $7.9 billion higher, on average, over 2023-24 to 2028-29,” said the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) report Economic And Fiscal Outlook. 

“This increase is largely due to upward revisions to our projection of direct program expenses (including new measures),” it reads.

In its last budget, the government said it would find “savings of $15.4 billion over the next five years.” However, the PBO shows spending increasing by almost $20 billion in 2024.

“This government’s spending is out of control,” said Franco Terrazzano, Federal Director to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF). “In the upcoming budget, Trudeau and Freeland need to show Canadians that they care about the state of the country’s finances and balance the books.”

Parliament has not balanced its budget since 2007. 

Contrary to the agency’s fiscal forecast, Freeland previously lectured MPs on reducing deficit spending but did not elaborate, reported Blacklock’s Reporter. 

“Yes, there are limits,” said Freeland. “There is no blank cheque,” she added. 

The CTF has intensified its calls for the feds to rein in spending and balance the budget following Tuesday’s scathing PBO report.

“PBO numbers show the government is running massive deficits for years to come with no plan to balance the budget,” said Terrazzano.

“It’s time for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to listen to the PBO’s warnings, put down the credit card, pick up some scissors and return to fiscal sanity,” he added.

On Tuesday, Budget Office analysts predicted debt interest charges would eat more than 10¢ of every dollar in revenue this year, “well above its pre-pandemic record low of 7¢ in 2019.” 

In 2028, interest charges will cost $62 billion, which is more than the government expects to collect through its GST, according to the Taxpayers Federation.

Budget Officer Yves Giroux in testimony last April 18 at the Senate national finance committee questioned whether federal spending was out of control.

“The government projects $500 billion in annual spending over the next two or three years,” testified Giroux. “We are going over a psychological hurdle, a very large one.”

“Has the government lost control of its expenditures?” asked Senator Clément Gignac. “This is a good point,” replied Giroux.

“Has the government lost control of its spending? I don’t know if they have lost control, but I can certainly say expenditures are rising at a sustained rate,” said Giroux. “If you plot this on a graph and look at the trend, over the next three years we see the trend line going in one direction.”

“Was there enough wiggle room for unforeseen events?” asked Senator Tony Loffreda. “With the level of spending the government is incurring, every time the government spends a bit more it gives itself less and less flexibility to face unforeseen events such as a potential financial crisis,” replied Giroux.

Minister Freeland’s next budget is due April 16.

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