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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Canada records biggest deficit in history

"I've gotta tell you, spending money is fun, Mr. Speaker!"

It's official. Stephen Harper's government has managed to out-do Pierre Trudeau, and take the crown as the biggest deficit spender in Canadian history.

Clocking in at an impressive $55.6 billion, the Harper government has single-handedly managed to inflate the size of the Federal government since taking office in 2006, by approximately 50%.

Remember: conservatives warned us that we had to dispose of the out-of-control spending of previous Liberal governments, which delivered eleven years of balanced budgets, reducing Canada's debt-to-GDP ratio from almost 90% down below 50%.

Stephen Harper and Flaherty have managed to increase Canada's Debt-to-GDP ratio back up to about 80%, erasing almost a decade of debt repayment. Based on current trends, and given Flaherty's own estimates for a return to surplus in 2016, Canada will essentially be back in the same fiscal shape it was in 1995 (or worse) when all is said and done.

But hey, hey lowered the GST! So I guess that makes up for saddling our children with hundreds of billions of dollars of debt.

Pierre Trudeau's legacy can now rest on it's laurels of only being the second-most socialist government in history. We can now reserve the number one distinction for the former president of the National Citizens Coalition.

And remember, we need to keep those high-flying, taxpayer-stiffing Liberal's out of office at all costs! Up to and including a national bankruptcy. Prisons must be built, drug users must be jailed, prostitutes must be vilified, and Air Canada must be protected from international competition. We cannot let fiscal problems get in the way of these pressing national priorities!

Posted by Mike Brock on October 13, 2010 | Permalink


This article is all fine and dandy except the numbers on debt/GDP ratio, particularly this:
Stephen Harper and Flaherty have managed to increase Canada's Debt-to-GDP ratio back up to about 80%

Our federal debt level is only just above 30% right now, so no.

Posted by: Cytotoxic | 2010-10-13 6:16:42 PM

The problem with this is that we have no way of knowing what the CPC would have done had it not been forced by the coalition of the three stooges. So let us place the blame where it belongs, since both the Liberals and the NDP wanted even more government spending, thus an even bigger debt.

Posted by: Alain | 2010-10-13 8:19:12 PM

Mike, are you saying that the Liberals would have done better during the recession than the Tories would have? Because during the days of Coalition 1.0, it sounded like they were fixing to spend even more than the Conservatives.

We get that you hate the Tories, Mike. Whether hate is a productive emotion is less certain.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-10-13 8:20:42 PM

Sorry I meant deficit, not debt.

Posted by: Alain | 2010-10-13 8:21:03 PM

All this means is what everyone has known all along: Harper is a social of convenience. He panders to Ontario and Quebec in the hopes of gaining his precious majority. He is addicted to power.

Posted by: AB Patriot | 2010-10-13 9:08:55 PM

Liberals and NDP forced most of this on us, now everyone forgets? Also, look at the deficit in the US... we can avoid a deficit right now? If your beloved Liberals or NDP was in power it would be $100 billion in year one alone.

Posted by: letsfindthetruth | 2010-10-13 9:23:43 PM

Harper is no different than the Liberals or the NDP. He plays socialist politics to win the support of Red Tories and Quebec nationalists. Harper is a left-wing PM and not a true conservative. Anyone who cannot see that is stupid, a liar, or at the trough that Harper fills daily. That SOB better not show he face in Alberta again.

Posted by: AB Patriot | 2010-10-13 11:58:35 PM

I'm pretty sure Harper's votes in Alberta are safe, AB. However, given all that inflammatory rhetoric, is it too much to ask if you have a suitable replacement lined up? Or, like most anarchists, do you simply "feel" on some level that if you create the vacancy, whatever replacement plops in will automatically be better?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-10-14 8:46:16 AM

The article mentions that Harper has beaten the previous deficit record set by Trudeau. Is this in nominal terms, or have the figures been adjusted for inflation since Trudeau?

Posted by: Dennis | 2010-10-14 9:32:35 AM

Wouldn't it be more accurate to compare deficit-to-GDP ratio instead of just the straight nominal figures? This deficit is around 3.6% of GDP, which is still pretty far off from around 8% in mid-80s.

Posted by: Anon | 2010-10-14 9:39:24 AM

Guys, guys, guys. When you introduce sober reality like that, you drain all the life from poor Mike's rousing tale. Of course, the same is true of those who talk of gold's "all-time high," which when adjusted for inflation is actually less than half what it was in 1980. Granted, it has the potential to go much higher, but that's just their fallback position when called on their main one, which in one sense is true but is ultimately misleading.

I've said this before: With activists (and most journalists), you get at best half the story, and that's with the honest ones. Like all showmen, they understand that winning hearts is mostly a matter of presentation, and know better than to wreck a good story with the whole truth, which is usually boring even when it isn't incomprehensible. Perhaps they're not as far removed from the common politician as they like to think.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-10-14 10:43:24 AM

You need to dig beyond the headlines Mike and not get caught up in nominal numbers. Worthwhile Canadian Initiative has a good post on this with illuminating charts.

Posted by: Steve | 2010-10-14 12:01:05 PM

The point in all this is not that the deficit is a lower percentage of GDP. The point is that government continues to grow, suckering on the wealth of citizens. Government is the greatest evil and a clear and destructive threat to Liberty. Every dollar Harper spends is a stolen dollar -- taxes are theft. Harper is a closet socialist.

Posted by: AB Patriot | 2010-10-14 9:07:25 PM

We need to drown the guverment in a bathtub! What has guverment ever done for me?

Posted by: Wayne Shucksworth | 2010-10-14 9:59:59 PM

The word is "suckling," AB. And it's clear from your talk you're an anarchist. Why should we listen to you? When was the last time a successful society was built on anarchy?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-10-14 11:24:08 PM

Outdoing Trudeau on deficit?!@? Of course the previous record for deficit was Mulroney - by a fair bit: and he was elected on the anger at Trudeau's high spending!!
Mulroney had a huge mandate for 9 years, largest ever at one point if I recall correctly, and the result was a record deficit. Spending is the policy of Conservatives in Ottawa, and of course the highest spending provincially is the Alberta Conservatives (42% higher per capita for program spending in 2010 than in the Ontario they alway complain about)
If Harper had a majority then we would be even worse off economically and the new jails for people hurting no-one would not be in design. There can be zero doubt about this with anyone other than more extreme Conservative partisans.

Posted by: Mr. Smith | 2010-10-15 9:23:40 AM

I've always thought about Liberals the way Brock thinks of Conservatives but on this point he may be on to something. The liberals, under Chretien with Martin in Finance, balanced the budget by being centrist enough to keep the populism of Reform regionally contained. If the Liberals now had a minority government or even a slight majority, Harper could keep them centrist from the opposition, unlike the present situation where Harper tries to pick up marginal support from the left by acting accordingly. When you are the Party to the "right" of all the others and you still don't have a majority, you have only one direction to go and due to multi-party politics, suicidally far.

Thanks in part to Quebec excluding itself from political engagement with the rest of Canada, a "conservative" majority is impossible. A Party with a Conservative name could get a majority but that is all it would be as it would have to rob policy from the NDP and by then its conservative (and a few libertarian) base would likely split for another Alliance or Reform or whatever. Groundhog day?

Posted by: John Chittick | 2010-10-15 10:38:59 AM

The Liberals under Chretien did more than just balance the budget, they made a large surplus by reducing spending (and their starting point was the largest ever deficit till that point, Mulroney).

Posted by: Mr. Smith | 2010-10-15 11:57:33 AM

It took decades to sink us into the present day socialist/statist mire. Getting out will not be easy and will not be quick.

We are so short sighted these days...

How did the current world financial crisis come into being? How many think it was all Bush's fault? Greenspan? Bernanke? What about Clinton & Barney Frank? How many think the borrowing/spending & speculations of millions of homeowners had something to do with it as well? How many think the problem is fixed & we can all go back to RE speculating and spending the wealth effect?

a good primer: Why the Meltdown Should Have Surprised No One Mises Media: Friday, March 13, 2009 by Peter Schiff mises.org/MediaPlayer.aspx?Id=4004

If the 3 Stooges coalition of the socialists, statists & separatists were in power would our discussions focus on the merits of their Austrian school economic policies?

For all their many faults, I believe Harper & Co are buying us time. Time to grow up; get our personal situations in order, get better educated and get involved. If enough Canadians rediscover the value of smaller government we would see more political progress towards that end.

Happy friday!

Posted by: Ron | 2010-10-15 1:16:51 PM

    If Harper had a majority then we would be even worse off economically and the new jails for people hurting no-one would not be in design. There can be zero doubt about this with anyone other than more extreme Conservative partisans.

Except Harper, unlike Mulroney, is not a "Red" Tory, and his power base is completely different. The only thing they have in common is the word "Conservative" in their party name.

P.S. It is not prudent to rail at partisanship in the same sentence that you utter the words "There is zero doubt."

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-10-15 2:11:46 PM

    The Liberals under Chretien did more than just balance the budget, they made a large surplus by reducing spending...

...and raising taxes, overbilling on EI, and offloading federal responsibilities onto the provinces. And is two billion dollars--a 100,000-percent cost overrun--on the gun registry your idea of reigning in spending? What was that about "partisans," Mr. Smith?

In any case, what the Liberals did under Chretien is irrelevant. What they would do under Ignatieff, or would have done under Dion, is the question. A question you seem content to leave unanswered.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-10-15 2:15:28 PM

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