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Canadian finance minister Freeland defends federal budget before finance committee | FULL

CA, 12 May 2021
Canadian Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland appeared before a House of Commons Finance Committee on Tuesday where she faced questions on Bill C-30, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, and on other measures.

Freeland faced a range of questions on budget spending, including from Conservative MP Ed Fast who noted the budget was “the largest spending budget ever and creates the largest debt and deficit in our country’s history.” Fast added that “we have better growth, we have better government revenues in each of next year and next. Yet for some reason, you’re not only spending all the unexpected additional revenues, you’re also increasing the amount you’re going to borrow each year. We’re going backwards, big time. For every extra dollar that comes in revenues, you seem to think you can spend that dollar and then borrow even more than you initially projected. So how is that a sustainable, fiscal and debt management plan?” Fast asked the finance minister.

Freeland replied to the changing of fiscal projections by saying that the “projections of private sector economists have changed and that’s been the basis on what we’ve used for our fiscal track.” She added “I’m very confident that the spending in our budget is reasonable and sustainable. The are a couple of key markers that I would point people to. The first is that we show a declining debt to GDP ratio, falling to 49.2 per cent in 2025-2026. Likewise a declining deficit falling to 1.1 per cent in that outer year. And I would also point out that it is not merely my judgement that the debt and deficit track is reasonable and sustainable, it’s also the judgement of important outside validators.”

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