The Windsor Star

Federal debt: Half a trillion and counting
The Windsor Star

All Canadians should be paying close attention to the swelling federal debt. This Sunday, according to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, the debt will surpass half a trillion dollars and then keep rising.

It’s an important fiscal signpost because the last time the debt was over $500 billion was in 2003. But after a string of budget surpluses, the debt dropped to a low of $453 billion in 2008.

According to Flaherty, the combined impact of the recession and stimulus spending will add $164 billion to the federal debt up until the end of 2014-15. He predicts surpluses will follow.

But not everyone is buying that scenario, including Parliament’s budget officer, Kevin Page. He believes that instead of a surplus in 2015, Ottawa will still have a $19-billion deficit, and it will be a « structural deficit. »

That means government revenues will persistently fall short of expenses — even when the economy begins to recover.