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Canada Federal government has room to spend more: PBO

17:11  27 february  2020
17:11  27 february  2020 Source:   msn.com

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OTTAWA — Parliament's budget watchdog says the federal government has room to increase spending and still remain financially sustainable over the long run, though the same can't be said for many provinces.

Parliamentary budget officer Yves Giroux says based on current policies and programs, the federal government could permanently increase spending or reduce taxes by around $41 billion and maintain its current debt-to-GDP ratio over the long term.

That is likely good news for the Liberal government, which has been criticized by the Opposition Conservatives for ringing up tens of billions of dollars in additional federal debt in recent years even as it looks to make good on a promise to introduce pharmacare.

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U.S. federal government spending for FY 2020 is .746 trillion. The most expensive programs are Social Security, Defense, and Medicare. Since then, spending has crept up again despite the sequester. Congress and the president rely on deficit spending to boost economic growth.

In response, the government has agreed that for the rest of the winter, federal officials will sign off on plans so money and work are ready to roll come Mr. Champagne said a pilot project to run next year with Nova Scotia, Alberta and Saskatchewan will test making payments when projects hit particular

Yet Giroux's assessment was less rosy for many provinces, especially Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador, which are in danger of being swamped by debt over the long term.

Part of the reason is rising health-care costs as well as expected declines in the amount of money provinces are expected to receive from the federal government.

Giroux says the federal government, which has faced pressure to change the formula for deciding which provinces receive equalization payments, could use some of its own financial room to help those provinces.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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