The budget surplus that Stephen Harper and Jim Flaherty projected just eight weeks ago does not exist. The Liberal Party and Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) were deeply suspicious of Harper and Flaherty and that suspicion is now confirmed.
The PBO is predicting that the budgetary deficit for 2009-10 will be $13 billion, even before any stimulus spending is allocated.
In order for next week’s budget to earn the confidence of Parliament and of Canadians, the numbers can’t lie. Stephen Harper must be frank and honest with all of us about the true state of our economy and the steps necessary to dig us out of the mess his government has created.
The simple issue is trust, and as I write this letter to you today, I can unequivocally say that Stephen Harper is going to have to work hard to earn the trust he squandered. The Harper Conservatives mismanaged the economy in good times, with excessive spending and ill-advised tax policy. Now, when the need for action is greatest, the cupboard is bare.
Worse, according to the PBO, some of the measures currently under consideration could create a permanent deficit that would hamstring our economy long after the current recession has passed.
As the clock ticks down toward budget day, Michael Ignatieff, and the Liberal team, are committed to protecting your interests and are working to ensure that Canadians can look forward with a sense of hope in the future.