Federal debt: Half a trillion and counting
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.