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The government has lost track of the deficit: Parliamentary Budget Officer

“It’s very difficult to estimate what is a likely deficit figure given that details are missing for some of these potentially very expensive measures,” Yves Giroux said.

The government has spent so much in the past few months that bureaucrats have lost track of how big the deficit has become.

On Tuesday Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux told the House of Commons finance committee that his office cannot keep track of the Trudeau government’s record-breaking spending.

“It’s very difficult to estimate what is a likely deficit figure given that details are missing for some of these potentially very expensive measures,” he said.

In early April Giroux said the budget deficit would be $184.2 billion in 2020-2021, but by April 30 Giroux increased that estimate to $252.1 billion. 

Giroux estimated that the deficit is at least “a few billion dollars more” as of Tuesday.

“Just how much more?” Conservative MP Michael Cooper asked Giroux.

“We don’t have that information,” replied Giroux.

On Tuesday Giroux also told MPs that the federal debt could reach $1 trillion this fiscal year.

A $252.1 billion deficit would be 458% larger than the previous record of $55.6 billion set in 2009-2010.

“The figure of $252.1 billion is very likely to be a very optimistic scenario as opposed to the number for the deficit for the current fiscal year,” Giroux added.

According to Blacklock’s Reporter the Canadian government will spend more this year than they did during the entirety of the Second World War when adjusted for inflation.

On Wednesday the Department of Finance also revealed they have no accurate information on how much the government has spent since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

When asked by the Senate finance committee Wednesday, Associate Assistant Deputy Minister Alison McDermott said that the department is unsure what the deficit is.

“All of those estimates are subject to quite a bit of uncertainty. The federal government has not yet made a fiscal estimate public,” McDermott said.

“The Bank of Canada provides an update every week,” Conservative Senator Elizabeth Marshall told McDermott. 

“They provide a copy of their balance sheet. I just find it almost amazing, incredible that the Bank of Canada can provide this information but the Department of Finance which has all these very intelligent people can’t provide us more fiscal information.”

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