The House of Commons Finance Committee has approved to raise the debt ceiling ahead of the federal budget, which is set to be unveiled on April 19th. 

According to Blacklock’s Reporter, on Tuesday the committee voted 7-4 in favour of the Trudeau government’s proposed increase to Canada’s debt ceiling, bringing Canada’s maximum debt level from $1.168 trillion to $1.831 trillion.

“Why not two trillion? Why not five trillion?” asked Conservative MP Pat Kelly.

“Why even have a ceiling if the ceiling is going to far exceed any notion of spending that has yet been presented to Parliament?”

The proposed debt ceiling hike is included in Bill C-14, a law proposed by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland that ratifies many of the pandemic spending measures announced by the government in recent months. The last time the debt ceiling was raised was in 2017.

Throughout the pandemic, the Trudeau government pushed through unprecedented spending measures. In her November fiscal update, Minister Freeland projected that Canada’s national deficit could hit $381.6 billion and federal debt could reach $1.4 trillion by March 2021. 

The government claims raising the debt ceiling to $1.831 trillion will cover future debts until the 2023-24 fiscal year.

Speaking to the Finance committee earlier in March, Freeland argued that the dramatic increase in the debt ceiling does not mean the government will spend recklessly.

“The characterization of the borrowing authority limit as a blank cheque is simply false. This is a transparent and open authorization of a level up to which the government may borrow,” she said.

“The increase in the borrowing authority is in no way a blank cheque. Every single expenditure by the government needs to be authorized by Parliament.”