(This column originally appeared in the Toronto Sun)
When Canadians elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, it was a $2 trillion mistake.
And, no, that’s not just an opinion.
The $2 trillion figure comes from the Government of Canada’s Department of Finance, in its annual update on long-term fiscal projections.
The economic forecast was released this week, and the figures are stunning.
The last long-term economic report, released under the Stephen Harper government in 2014, predicted Canada would eliminate its national debt within 25 years.
Despite the large economic drain of baby boomers retiring from the workforce and utilizing expensive social services like health care and Old Age Security, the Harper government had a plan to deliver balanced budgets.
It also planned to pay off the federal debt and, much like Ralph Klein’s Alberta in the 2000s, become debt free after 2035.
By 2040, Canada was projected to have no federal debt and a $158 billion surplus. This surplus would continue to grow, and presumably be returned to Canadians through lower taxes and increased spending on social programs.
The Harper government’s long-term economic plan included some tough but fair measures, like reducing the growth in federal spending and moving the retirement age up to 67.
Given the reality of Canada’s changing demographics, these measures are inevitable.
For instance, there are now more Canadians over the age of 65 than under the age of 15.
The ratio of working aged Canadians to retired Canadians has fallen below 4.2, and is projected to drop to 2.5 by 2035.
Canada can no longer make projections based on the booming growth we experienced after the Second World War.
Harper’s fiscal update (building on the fiscal success of the Jean Chrétien Liberals) made leaps and bounds towards correcting a broken, outdated system.
But things look drastically different under Trudeau.
Today’s long-term economic forecast paints a dire picture for the country’s finances.
It’s particularly punishing for young Canadians and future taxpayers.
Instead of surpluses, Canada will run deficits. Year after year.
Far from being debt-free within 25 years, Canada is now projected to run catastrophic deficits every year.
Our annual shortfall is forecasted to be $40 billion in 2035 alone.
By 2045, the government now projects $1.5 trillion in federal debt.
Just two years ago, Canada was projected to have a $760 billion surplus that same year.
While I was a director with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation in Ontario, I wrote a book about my generation, and the...(READ MORE)