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Parliamentary Budget Office projects federal deficit of $363.4 billion in 2020-21

According to the Fraser Institute, the federal government spent $17,091 per Canadian in 2020-2021. That is more than double what the government spent per person during the Second World War peak ($7,769) and nearly twice during the 2009 recession ($8,993).

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The federal government’s $381.6 billion deficit last year became a reckless spending trend as the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) estimates another deficit of $363.4 billion this year. 

“PBO projects budgetary deficits of $363.4 billion and $121.1 billion in 2020-21 and 2021-22, respectively. Relative to the size of the economy, the deficit in 2020-21 amounts to 16.5 percent of GDP—the largest budgetary deficit since the beginning of the series in 1966-67,” reads the PBO report.

“Based on Finance Canada and PBO estimates, we calculate that total federal COVID-19 response measures will amount to $331 billion.”

According to the Fraser Institute, the federal government spent $17,091 per Canadian in 2020-2021.

That is more than double what the government spent per person during the Second World War peak ($7,769) and nearly twice during the 2009 recession ($8,993).

Spending by all government levels in Canada hit 57.3 per cent of GDP in 2020. That’s more than at any time in history, including both world wars. 

In the 12 straight deficit years beginning in 2008/09, Ottawa’s cumulative deficits totalled $282.3 billion in 2020 dollars. 

Last year’s deficit is (in real terms) 35.2 per cent larger than all the deficits run during and in the decade following the “Great Recession” of 2008/09.

“While emergency spending to deal with the fallout from COVID-19 and the recession was necessary, this additional spending adds to already record-high spending levels that existed prior to the pandemic, which is going to make it much harder for government finances to recover in any reasonable time period,” said Fraser Institute senior economist Jake Fuss.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Ottawa was already spending at record-per-person levels.

Current projections indicate federal program spending in 2021/22 will reach $11,370 per person, an increase of roughly 20 per cent from $9,500 in 2019, the year before the pandemic and already the highest level of per-person spending (inflation-adjusted) in Canadian history.

What’s more, this spending level doesn’t include new stimulus spending or new programs such as national daycare or national pharmacare, which are potential big-ticket items in the upcoming federal budget.

Crucially, this marked increase in per-person spending began well before the COVID pandemic. 

Between the Harper government’s last budget in 2015 and fiscal year 2018/19, inflation-adjusted federal program spending (total spending minus interest costs) grew from $8,063 per person to $9,061 per person, which at that point was the highest level in Canadian history.

Per the most recent data available, the highest single-year per-person spending ($9,066) between 1870 and 2019 was under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2019. 

“The federal government was already spending at record levels — largely with borrowed money — before the COVID pandemic,” said Fuss.

“As we look to recover from the pandemic and recession, policymakers should address Ottawa’s pre-existing spending problem or else Canadians will likely face higher taxes in the future to cover the resulting debt accumulation and interest costs.”

The PBO predicts current deficit predictions will raise Canada’s debt-to-GDP ratio to its highest in fifty years.

“Should measures in the upcoming budget translate into new permanent programs that are deficit-financed, the sustainable debt-to-GDP trajectory we project over the medium- and long-term could be reversed,” said Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux.

To accommodate today’s fiscal reality, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland proposed raising the debt ceiling from $1.168 trillion to $1.831 trillion.

Giroux warns of a worsening situation if the government does not restrain spending, despite evidence suggesting Canada’s debt would decline gradually at the current rate to start next year.

With Canada’s first federal budget in over two years, the $70 to $100 billion stimulus package earmarked over the next three years poses an “upside risk” to our economic outlook by increasing the deficit.

Giroux foresaw more significant problems should the federal government choose to fund permanent projects in a PBO statement.

Dhaliwal is a Western Standard reporter based in Edmonton

News

Third wall built around GraceLife Church as protesters gather

A large protest, and possible outdoor service, are expected at the site Sunday morning.

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Authorities have put a third fence around the GraceLife Church hoping to keep out crowds expected to gather Sunday morning.

AHS, with the help of RCMP, raided the church, in Spruce Grove, Wednesday morning erecting the initial barricades. The third level of defence was put up Saturday.

On Sunday morning, about 100 people gathered at the furthest barricade which was manned by more than as dozen police officers.

Protesters sang songs and hymns and yelled at the police.

One woman asked for her son to be allowed to go into the church to use the washroom. She was refused and launched a torrent of abuse against the police.

The church, under Pastor James Coates, had repeatedly violated COVID-19 laws by holding packed services with hundreds of people.

Coates turned himself into the RCMP and served more than a month in jail before being released with a $1,500 fine and a tongue-lashing from the judge.

Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro personally approved the AHS-RCMP raid and barricading of the Grace Life Church according to a UCP MLA that spoke to the Western Standard on condition of anonymity. Shandro has denied the story.

A large protest, and possible outdoor service, are expected at the site Sunday morning.

This story will be updated as the Sunday events happen.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Jivraj admits planting fake stories with Press Progress, CBC

Under oath, Jivraj admitted he was a long-time informant for Press Progress, the de facto media arm of the NDP.

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Western Standard News editor Dave Naylor has spent two weeks investigating the story of Caylan Ford. Ford seemed a rising political star – intelligent, photogenic and a working mother. She was recruited by Jason Kenney to run provincial for the UCP.

Ford seemed to be on the path to stardom when she was shot down in flames by rumours and planted news stories in a NDP-linked news site.

Ford blames one man for her downfall – Kiram Javrij. 

Over the next week, Naylor will tell their story backed with court documentation and interviews.

Karim Jivraj, under testimony during a deposition, detailed just how complex his undercover harassment of UCP candidate Caylan Ford, and other women was.

Under withering questioning by Ford’s Lawyer, R.E. Harrison, Javrij admitted to planting fake stories with the NDP-linked Press Progress and the CBC.

In October 2018, Jivraj wrote a letter accusing Ford of committing “residency fraud” and claimed she was ineligible to stand as a candidate for election in the riding of Calgary Mountainview.

“He asked nine members of my constituency association board to sign the letter, but did not sign it himself,” said Ford in an exclusive interview with the Western Standard.

“Then he sent it to the media, and invited journalists to report on his allegations. Press Progress did.”

The following is a portion of the Q and A between Harrison and Jivraj.

Harrison: You say that you helped author the letter?
A: Yes.

Harrison then ask Jivraj who else on the board helped author the letter to then UCP Executive Director Janice Harrington.

Q: Now, after authoring the letter, you circulated it to the other board directors to seek their signatures?

A: Yes. I — I and others circulated it.

Read Javrij’s letter to the Mountainview board

Harrison then got Jivraj to admit he didn’t sign the letter he letter. Jivraj then detailed how he was the one who sent the letter to the NDP-linked news website, Press Progress.

Q: The October 13, 2018, article from Press Progress is entitled “UCP Constituency Association Accuses Jason Kenney’s Handpicked ‘Parachute Candidate’ of Breaking Party Rules.” Do you see that.

A: Yeah.

Q: Do you recognize this article?

A: Yes.

Q: Now, do you know who sent the October 1, 2018, letter to Press Progress?

A: I believe I did.

In November 2018, Jivraj purchased Google attack ads on searches of Ford’s name. These ads included a fabricated quotation, which Jivraj attributed to Ford. Harrison asked Jivraj who bought them.

A: I’m not sure if “purchase” is the right word. I received a free $50 budget on Google Ads, and so that was used for this. So there was no monetary investment.”

Q: Okay. So these ads were posted by you?

A: Yes.

In November 2018, Jivraj used a pseudonymous email account to send defamatory statements about Ford to 1,300 of her electors. The emails included another fabricated quotation which he attributed to Ford.

Q: You see the last attack ad has a quote: “My family has lived in southwest Calgary for generations. I could never live in north Calgary. Anywhere above the Bow is basically a suburb.” Do you see that quotation?

A: Yes

Q: Did you create that quotation?

A: I don’t believe so.

Q: Where did you get that quotation from?

A: I’m not sure. I think Ms. Ford may have said something along those lines when I was looking for a place in Calgary.

Q: You’re aware that Ms. Ford has lived in the neighbourhood of Sunnyside?

A: I became aware of that afterward.

Q: And why did these attack — why did these ads link to Press Progress?

A : That’s a good question. I don’t know.

Under oath, Jivraj admitted he was a long-time informant for Press Progress, the de facto media arm for the NDP.

Q: Did you email or call PressProgress to disclose this conversation?

A: I can’t recall. I don’t — I can’t recall if I reached out directly to Press Progress. I think the — what initiated the cycle of events was my meeting, my physical meeting at (Calgary coffee shop) Vendome.

Q: What I want to know is whether you phoned Press Progress to provide them with the contents of the conversation or provide them information

A: I can’t recall.

Q: Why did Press Progress call you out of the blue as you’ve insinuated.

Jivraj admits he has been in contact with Press Progress previously to discuss provincial and federal politics.

Q: OK, How many times would you have spoken with Press Progress previously to their phone call to you?

A: Again, I don’t want to guess, but several, several times.

Jivraj admits he has been in contact with Press progress since 2015. Ford herself then jumps into the questioning, asking Jivraj about his dealings with the CBC.

CBC Logo (photo credit CBC)

Ford: Did you disclose additional private messages between yourself and me to the CBC?

A: Yes

Ford: Have you created any other pseudonymous Twitter accounts?

A: Yeah. In my various political activities, yes, I’ve created many.

Ford is suing Jivraj, Press Progress and several media outlets for a total of $7 million.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

The saga of Karim Jivraj’s campaign against Ford and other conservative women is just too incredible to be told in a single feature article.

That’s why the Western Standard decided to break it down into a series, which will dive into several of the actions taken by Jivraj. It’s a story we did not believe until we obtained the evidence.

COMING NEXT: Tap on back leads to assault allegations from Rivraj against Ford

PREVIOUSLY: 
How a Conservative candidate worked with the NDP to bring down star UCP candidate
Tory candidate admits using a fake Twitter account to spread false sexual rumours
Jivraj admits to undercover online campaigns against women

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EXCLUSIVE: UCP MLA says Shandro approved barricading GraceLife Church

But a spokesman for Shandro denied any involvement by the minister.

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Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro personally approved the AHS-RCMP raid and barricading of the Grace Life Church according to a UCP MLA that spoke to the Western Standard on condition of anonymity.

RCMP and Alberta Health Services conducted a Wednesday dawn raid on the church in Spruce Grove, Alberta after it repeatedly refused to comply to lockdown and capacity orders from the government.

“Shandro directly signed off on the raid,” said the MLA.

The MLA said the public backlash against the raid has rocked the government, and they are considering removing the wall before an expected large service is held there Sunday.

But a spokesman for Shandro denied any involvement by the minister.

“Minister Shandro did not direct or sign off this action. The law gives AHS independent authority to carry out such an action. The Minister is not required to sign off on enforcement activity such as seen at GraceLife, nor did he sign off. “

The move against the church came the day after Alberta Premier Jason Kenney threw the province back into a COVID-19 lockdown for the third time, discarding the policy of phased reopening based on measurable targets.

The move infuriated even members of his own caucus, with 17 UCP MLAs signing a public letter denouncing Kenney.

Another UCP MLA told the Western Standard they are “100% certain” Kenney will be the subject of an early party leadership review.

“Caucus is in total chaos,” said the MLA, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity.

A new Angus Reid poll this week showed a whopping 75% of Albertans oppose Kenney’s handling of the pandemic, including those that believe he has gone too far in restrictions, and those who believe that he hasn’t gone far enough.

Former federal Canadian Alliance leader Stockwell Day the Alberta government for barricading the GraceLife Church, saying it would bring “gleeful howls” from dictators around the world.

The church’s pastor, James Coates recently spent 35 days in the Edmonton Remand Centre after refused to agree to stop preaching as a condition of his bail.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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