• The Stephen Harper fabrication machine continued churning out misinformation today by telling reporters that Stéphane Dion has refused to rule out running a deficit if elected Prime Minister.
•A Liberal government will never put Canada into deficit. Period.
•The Prime Minister has deliberately ignored a public commitment Mr. Dion has already made to continue the long Liberal tradition of sound economic management that includes balanced budgets and a contingency reserve of $3 billion a year to be applied to the debt if it’s not used.
•If, at the end of the fiscal year, that $3-billion reserve is not used, a Liberal government will put all of it towards debt reduction.
•In his February 15, 2008 speech to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), Mr. Dion said:
“A Liberal government will ensure that the federal budget has a contingency reserve of $3 billion each year to help keep us out of deficit in times of economic challenges, and to ensure that the government has resources available in times of urgent need, such as when our country has faced floods, SARS or the ice storm.”
•In his June 1, 2008 speech, again to the FCM, Mr. Dion reiterated this:
“We will invest any surpluses (beyond a contingency reserve) in infrastructure, starting with sustainable infrastructure as a priority.”
•The irony of this Prime Minister criticizing Liberals for bad fiscal management should not be lost on anyone. It is another example of his distorted ‘Harpernomics.’
•This is the same Prime Minister who:
a)in just 30 months in office, squandered the $13-billion surplus he inherited from the previous Liberal government, and ran a deficit in the first two quarters of this year;
b)irresponsibly ended the prudent Liberal practice of maintaining a $3-billion contingency reserve in order to pay for his inefficient tax cuts and bloated spending promises;
c)heads the highest-spending government in Canadian history, despite his promises to the contrary. The 2009-2010 spending projection in their last budget represented a 25 per cent increase from when they took office. They made $19.2 billion in pre-election spending promises alone (between June and September 2008);
d)has overseen the worst economic growth and productivity growth since 1990 – the Mulroney days. We are the worst-performing economy in the G8; and
e)has sat idly by and watched, real stable full-time jobs being replaced by unstable part-time jobs. A whopping 154,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost.
•Compare that to the Liberal record:
1.Liberal governments delivered eight consecutive balanced budgets – a first for any government since Confederation. The Conservatives are quickly unravelling Canada’s once sound economic record.
2.When the Liberal government took office in 1993, the previous Conservative government had run up an annual deficit of $43 billion in 2005 dollars. The Liberal government was able to turn Canada’s fiscal situation around and balanced the budget in four years. During this period Canada was the only country in the G7 to record total budget surpluses.
3.Allowing for inflation, the average Canadian family’s income was 20 per cent higher in 2004 than in 1993. Between 1993 and 2005, the Canadian economy grew by almost 300,000 new jobs every year.
Fiscal discipline is part of the Liberal DNA. We were the party that turned a huge deficit into eight years of surpluses, and we will continue to put fiscal responsibility first. And that's your reality check.