Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: PM Plays Budgetary Blame Game

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: PM Plays Budgetary Blame Game

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: PM plays budgetary blame game

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An editorial from the Winnipeg Free Press, published June 29:

Ah, the blame game -- do politicians ever tire of playing it?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau clearly has not, and he used his end-of-session news conference this week to defend his government's fiscal performance by lobbing a billions-big budgetary blame bomb in the direction of former prime minister Stephen Harper.

Mr. Trudeau insisted Tuesday, as he addressed reporters in Ottawa after the end of Parliament's spring session, that his Liberal government has kept its promise to be fiscally responsible, despite having produced higher-than-expected deficit numbers. How could he make such a statement, given the bottom-line-inclined nature of the balance-sheet figures?

Why, by blaming the Tories, of course.

Mr. Trudeau said the Liberals, who most certainly did not run on an austerity-focused platform in 2015, have been true to their pledge of about $10 billion in new spending during their first year in office.

The problem, he explained, is that upon taking office, the Liberals discovered that their Harper-led predecessors had left a baseline deficit of $18 billion rather than the balanced budget they had earlier predicted.

How Mr. Trudeau came up with the $18-billion figure was the subject of immediate and rather heated discussion in the nation's capital.

"Did he find it in a Cracker Jack (box), or what?" was Conservative MP Gerard Deltell's response. "Because this is all wrong."

Indeed, there does seem to be some convenient accounting involved, on both sides, in determining just exactly who left what to whom when the Liberals seized control of the federal government from the Conservatives. At the mathematical centre of the issue is the 2015-16 fiscal year, which was completed partly under the watch of the Harper government and partly under Mr. …

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