Finance Minister Bill Morneau took the unprecedented step of revealing updated information on Monday (February 22) instead of waiting for the upcoming federal budget to publicize said numbers, in a move that many have deemed the government’s way of increasing transparency regarding Canada’s economic situation.
As reported by the Toronto Star
, among these are OECD’s drastic lowering of its 2016 economic growth projections for the country, from 2 per cent to a measly 1.4 per cent. In Monday’s pre-budget consultation in Ottawa, Morneau highlighted the Liberals’ continued break from the Conservative administration’s tactic of spending cuts, saying that the government should instead focus on lowering the debt-to-GDP ratio and investing in the economy to promote growth.
While no other hard figures were provided since the budget has yet to be completed, Morneau’s update gave the public a clearer idea of the extent of the upcoming budgetary deficits. A few weeks ago, several economists and watchdogs gave downgraded forecasts, which have been taken into account as a fiscal foundation for next month’s budget release.
Taken together, these facts paint a grim outlook for Canada’s economy, chiefly due to the economic downturn exacerbated by continuous shocks in oil prices and weakening global markets.
Recently, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that balancing the books within his four-year term now seem improbable, adding that that the government won’t be able to keep the 2016-17 shortfall under $10 billion. These were key promises in the Liberal election platform.