Harper talks up $5-billion surplus for April-June, but Liberals say it’s a ‘phony surplus’

PRIME Minister Stephen Harper, reacting to the Department of Finance’s monthly report on the state of the government’s finances showing a $5 billion surplus for the period of April to June 2015, said on Friday: “The report shows that under our strong economic leadership, Canada had a $5 billion budget surplus for the first three months of the year. This means that we’re actually ahead of the game on our budget plan, while at the same time delivering historic tax relief directly to Canadian families. That’s good for Canada and good for the economy.”

He added: “While the global economy remains volatile, our Conservative Government will continue to deliver a low-tax, balanced budget plan to keep our economy moving forward.”

Harper then noted: “Justin Trudeau’s Liberals and Thomas Mulcair’s NDP have proposed massive increases in government spending and permanent, large deficits, paid for by tax hikes on middle class families, workers and seniors. Their approach would increase taxes, kill jobs, and wreck our economy.”

 

BUT the Liberals accused Harper of trumpeting a phony “surplus” in Friday’s fiscal monitor, even though he knows he is running an eighth consecutive deficit.

They said the figures released clearly reveal: “The first three months of the fiscal year provide limited information with respect to the outlook for the year as a whole.” (Department of Finance Canada, The Fiscal Monitor – June 2015)

The Parliamentary Budget Officer, who looks at the full fiscal year, confirmed the government is running a $1 billion deficit for the entire fiscal year.

Plunging oil prices mean the deficit will grow even larger. Projected in this year’s budget to be $54 per barrel in 2015 (Budget 2015, Table 2.2 on page 61), the price of oil dropped to $40 last week – its lowest level since early 2009.

“Stephen Harper isn’t telling the truth. He’s running another deficit and he knows it,” said Liberal candidate Scott Brison. “To mislead Canadians like this is as low as it gets, even for Stephen Harper who is defined by a career of deception. He can’t be trusted.”

He added: “Experts have confirmed that Canada is the only G7 country in recession and that Harper is currently running a deficit; the Parliamentary Budget Officer said so in July. Canadians expect their leaders to be honest with them and to take responsibility for their own actions. Stephen Harper has failed on both counts. That’s not leadership.”

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