Government spending growth in Canada actually slowed to below the historical average in the first three months of 2009, even as the recession's grip tightened...
Government spending rose only 0.3 per cent in that period over the previous quarter. This increase even fell short of the 30-year historical average of 0.5 per cent for quarterly government spending growth.
"In a quarter they're supposedly rolling out big stimulus, government spending actually rose less than a typical quarter," BMO Nesbitt Burns deputy chief economist Doug Porter noted.
As Mr. Porter observed, it's a surprise that government spending growth actually softened as the downturn grew.
"We were actually expecting a bit more of a positive impact from government spending."
I've heard a rumor that as we get more mandated disclosure on spending, ending this past fiscal year, we could see a suspicious effort to hold back spending, so that it didn't count against the deficit. The above tends to lend some credence to that belief. It will be interesting to see if the government put the optics of their bottomline presentation above spending that was already allocated, clearly needed.