The pre-budget economic and fiscal briefing released by Mr. Page's office yesterday said Canada will run a budget deficit of $13-billion next fiscal year even before the Harper government spends a cent of stimulus money.
And, let's not forget that Kevin Page first warned of this shortfall on November 20th, just prior to Jim Flaherty laughably suggesting a slim surplus:
Parliament's budget watchdog warned yesterday Canada is at risk of recording deficits starting this fiscal year, and the annual shortfall could reach nearly $14-billion next year as it believes its worst-case scenario represents a "more likely" outcome.
The report takes some of the drama out of next week's fiscal update, which Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will deliver next Thursday in the House of Commons.
Page's latest report provides worse news looking forward, the prospect of all the progress, paying down the national debt, evaporating in a matter of years, is a sobering reality. Worse still, Page reaches this conclusion without factoring in any stimulus, again providing a powerful argument for Conservative responsibility.
The Conservatives are desperately trying to paint any deficit as simply a function of realities outside of our control, coupled with the need to intervene in the economy. Page reveals the disconnect between Flaherty's "rosy" projections and reality, which establishes one of two things, dishonesty or incompetence. When Flaherty rises, and he tries to wash his hands of the deficit, everyone will know the starting point. The Liberals have already pounced, and I suspect we will hear more references to Page's sombre analysis in the lead up to the budget. The timing is absolutely perfect, unless you're a Conservative of course. A fundamental OUCH, which confirms a negative legacy, that no amount of spin can overcome.