Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland told the Senate yesterday that it "would not be prudent" if they were to estimate Canada's fiscal deficit for 2020, according to Blacklock's Reporter.
“I will not make projections today concerning the deficit,” said Freeland when asked if if the deficit would surpass $400 billion. “That would not be prudent. I am the Minister of Finance. I know that everything I say has an impact on the market in Canada.”
The deficit is projected to smash the previous record deficit set in 2010, which was set at $55.6 billion.
“What will Canada’s deficit be?” asked Senator Carignan. “You are asking an important question, a question that concerns me a great deal concerning the fiscal situation of our country,” replied Freeland.
“I will not make projections today because the situation, as you will understand very well, is quite fluid with Covid-19, with the second wave, with the decisions that provinces like Québec and Ontario are currently making to flatten the curve of the coronavirus,” said Freeland. “That will have an impact.”
The remarks came as Senate considers allowing an additional $51 billion in pandemic relief. “We have to make a decision now. You’re asking us to vote now on legislative provisions that commit spending," said Senator Carignan of Quebebc. "So if we take the measures you have tabled to date, we’re talking about how many billion dollars’ deficit?”
“Are you going to tell the Prime Minister there is a brake and that having his foot flooring the accelerator is not necessarily the best way to set Canada on the right track?” Senator Carignan asked Freeland.
“I grew up on a farm; I started driving a pickup truck when I was twelve,” responded Freeland. “I understand the importance of brake and gas pedals. Both of them are important. Both need to be controlled to drive properly.”
According to Blacklock's Reporter, the Parliamentary Office's Economic and Fiscal Outlook said the federal debt would reach a record breaking $1.45 trillion this year.