WATCH ABOVE: Full speech: Finance Minister Bill Morneau releases economic outlook
By Amy Minsky – Global News
The Liberals have, once again, downgraded their economic outlook, projecting deeper deficits than announced either during the 2015 election campaign or in the 2016 federal budget.
By the end of the current fiscal year, the country will be almost $31 billion in the red, according to the fall economic update released Tuesday – that’s $1.3 billion beyond the $29.4 billion deficit Finance Minister Bill Morneau forecasted in the March 2016 budget.
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The finance department’s figures released actually peg the 2016-17 deficit at $24.7 billion, but that takes into account a $6 billion emergency fund the Liberals announced in their maiden budget.
In fact, Tuesday’s figures indicate the Liberal government intends to use that annual envelope of $6 billion every year, effectively minimizing the projected deficit for each year.
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The $1.3 billion difference between the March forecast and today’s may not seem so stark compared to the vast divide between what voters were told during the 2015 campaign and the maiden budget.
Throughout the months-long campaign, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau campaigned on a pledge to run “modest” deficits of $10 billion.
Trudeau was also elected on a promise to balance the books by 2019-20. Now, the government is projecting a $24.2 billion that year ($18.2 billion when taking the emergency funding into account), and balanced budgets aren’t even on the radar.
Tuesday’s document casts ahead five years to 2021-22, at which point the government is still projecting a deficit of at least $11 billion.