OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is promising to deliver what he’s calling a fiscal “snapshot” of the federal government’s finances in the House of Commons on July 8.
Trudeau says this will give Canadians an idea of where we stand right now, how our response compares to that of other countries, and where we’re heading as a country in the coming months.
But the prime minister stresses this isn’t a normal, full fiscal update.
“An economic and fiscal update would be unrealistic right now because it automatically includes projections for a year, three years, five years ahead of time which, quite frankly, we simply couldn’t make any responsible predictions about,” he explains.
“However, every two weeks over the past number of months, we have put forward all the information from finance to the Finance Committee, to parliamentarians on the measures that we have moved forward on to give a very precise accounting on what we’ve done.”
— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) June 17, 2020
The Liberals were supposed to present a full budget for 2020 in March but postponed it indefinitely when the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
Trudeau has said uncertainty from the pandemic makes meaningful forecasts impossible.
Given the uncertainty of the current situation, Trudeau still believes the fiscal snapshot will be of value to Canadians.
“I think it’ll be useful for people to see the scale and the details on everything that we have put out,” he says. “As I’ve said, we’ve been keeping the Finance Committee, and through them parliamentarians, updated every two weeks on all the measures we’ve been flowing out.”
Revenues have plunged and expenses have soared as millions of workers stopped earning incomes as their workplaces shut down, and started collecting benefits instead.
Trudeau says the situation demanded the biggest government response in our lifetimes.
That’s sent estimates of the federal deficit into orbit, to $250 billion or more.