August 1.7 billion deficit. What will September record?

Vancouver - Friday, October 24, 2008 - by: Michael Watkins

Its official: Stephen "No Recession" Harper and Jim "No Deficit" Flaherty post a whopping 1.7 billion deficit as recorded in the the August Fiscal Monitor. What will September record?

I noted during the election Canada's growing cash flow deficit. Only post-election has the subject of debt, deficit, and recession gained traction in the popular media.

From April to the end of August the Conservative government has racked up $17.6 billion in new debt and reduced Canada's cash balance by $2 billion.

It has run deficits in two of five months already this year, and the borrowing rate of this government has outpaced all governments this decade.

There is every expectation this fiscal year will be the worst Canada has faced in decades. Previous governments have retained sufficient reserves to deal with economic turmoil, but the Harper government is not so prepared.

It will be tempting for the opposition to merely claim the Harper government are bad managers. Don't make that mistake. Focussing on the amount of red ink alone will cause many to miss the more important point which is the Harper government, in the final analysis, doesn't care if it runs some red ink. Why? Harper's primary mission is to keep shovelling out tax cuts and transfers to provinces in order to reach its final objective: a permanent weakening of the power of the federal government.

Surpluses and deficits are ephemeral. Whatever fleeting angst one feels on review of the latest federal government balance sheet will not compare to the pain we shall experience in the future thanks to a weakened Canada and its dismantled federal government, one Harper wishes to design using the 1867 era as his pattern.

Was Canada better off in 1867 than it is today?



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