Mr. Manley goes to Halifax:
The taxpayers reality check

Ottawa - Saturday, November 2, 2002 - by: Walter Robinson, Federal Director, Canadian Taxpayers Federation




Deputy Prime Minister, Finance Minister and putative Liberal leadership candidate, John Manley, went to Halifax this week to deliver his economic update before the Finance Committee. Mr. Manley provided a glowing overview of Canada’s economy and of course, went to great lengths to boast of his government’s “successful” economic record in vanquishing the deficit, reducing the national debt, cutting taxes, etc., etc., etc. At the rate he was going, it’s surprising Mr. Manley didn’t take credit for the gorgeous summer we experienced!




Mr. Manley offered up quotes and statistics which, in fairness, show that our fiscal situation has markedly improved since the Liberals came to power. However, equally telling is the information that the Finance Minister chose not to disclose in his update this week. So in the interests of transparency and balance, a taxpayers “reality check” in is order.


National debt:

decline in

“Over the past five years we have reduced the debt by $46.7 billion … Our debt-to-GDP ration has now fallen from its peak of 71% in 1995-96 to its current level of 49%, the largest decline recorded by any G-7 country in the same period.”


Reality check:

actual debt
up by
$75 billion

The national debt presently stands at $536.5 billion (accounting for the recent $8.9 billion repayment) which is still $28.3 billion higher than when the Chretien government took office in 1993 ($508.2 billion). Translation: Jean Chretien’s crew racked up $75 billion in debt from 1993 to 1997.



debt interest
22¢ / $1.00

This calculation doesn’t attribute the Mulroney/Campbell departing gift of a $42 billion deficit to the Liberals. Moreover, debt interest charges still chew up 22 cents of every spending dollar, Ottawa’s single largest expenditure.


  Tax cuts:

$100 billion

“In October 2000 we delivered a five-year, $100-billion tax cut package for both personal and corporate taxes.”




Reality check:


Given Minister Manley’s summer preaching to corporate Canada about transparency and governance, sadly he continues to perpetuate this $100 billion fiction first authored by Paul Martin.

$47 billion

Okay, one more time with feeling. $20.7 billion is bracket creep taxes foregone, not a tax cut. Another $28 billion in Canada Pension Plan premium hikes are not included. Almost $6 billion on Child Tax Benefit payments (read: spending) are included as tax cuts. The real five year tax cut, if fully implemented, will be $47 billion.


As well, last week’s Public Accounts report that the Employment Insurance surplus — after seven years of ripping off Canadian workers and employers — now stands at $40.2 billion.




“We will manage the hard-earned tax dollars of Canadians with care and caution. Our approach must be no different from that of Canadian families balancing their household budgets. We must spend wisely and live within our means.”
  Reality check:

talk is

Human Resource Development Corporation’s billion dollar boondoggle, $100 million for unnecessary executive jets, $40 million in federal sponsorships, $4 billion annually in corporate welfare and regional development … well you get the picture. When it comes to spending, Ottawa’s talk is cheap, sadly its actions are very costly.


Less than twenty-four hours after Manley’s Halifax infomercial, the Supplementary Estimates landed in the Commons with a thud requesting an extra $5.8 billion for in-year program spending. Yikes … reality bites.
  Walter Robinson
Federal Director
  Manley stays fiscal course, asks MPs for advice, October 30, 2002, CBC, Halifax
  Manely sees reduced surplus for current fiscal year, October 30, 2002, CBC Halifax
  Manley to trim spending as Ottawa boosts budget, October 31, 2002, Associated Press
  Gilroy, Rob, Ottawa's fiscal prudence to continue: Manley, October 30, 2002



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