Per per­son govern­ment spend­ing un­der Trudeau near­ing record high


This year, fed­eral per per­son pro­gram spend­ing un­der Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau has nearly eclipsed the all-time high recorded dur­ing the 2009 re­ces­sion, finds a new study re­leased to­day by the Fraser In­sti­tute, an in­de­pen­dent, non-par­ti­san Cana­dian pub­lic pol­icy think-tank.

“Look­ing back at govern­ment spend­ing in Canada since Con­fed­er­a­tion, this year stands out be­cause un­like most other spend­ing spikes, there’s no re­ces­sion or war to ex­plain it,” said Ja­son Cle­mens, ex­ec­u­tive vice-pres­i­dent of the Fraser In­sti­tute and co-au­thor of Prime Min­is­ters and Govern­ment Spend­ing: A Ret­ro­spec­tive.

The study, which tracks an­nual per per­son pro­gram spend­ing by prime min­is­ter since Con­fed­er­a­tion (ad­justed for in­fla­tion), finds that Prime Min­is­ter Stephen Harper recorded the high­est per per­son spend­ing in a sin­gle year in 2009 at $8,375 (in 2017 dol­lars).

Prime Min­is­ter Trudeau, in this year’s fed­eral bud­get, has

Othe sec­ond high­est per per­son pro­gram spend­ing at $8,337— just $38 less.

But whereas most marked in­creases in pro­gram spend­ing over Canada’s his­tory co­in­cide with wars or re­ces­sions— no­tably the two world wars, the Korean War, the Great De­pres­sion and the 2009 re­ces­sion—prime Min­is­ter Trudeau’s his­tor­i­cally high level of spend­ing comes in the ab­sence of a re­ces­sion or war.

In ad­di­tion to hav­ing the sec­ond-high­est all-time spend­ing level, Prime Min­is­ter Trudeau dur­ing his ten­ure also has the third largest av­er­age an­nual in­crease (5.2 per cent) in per per­son pro­gram spend­ing since the Sec­ond World War, be­hind only Lester B. Pear­son (5.3 per cent) and Louis St. Lau­rent (7.0 per cent).

“While wars and re­ces­sions ob­vi­ously af­fect govern­ment spend­ing, the rapid in­crease in spend­ing ob­served re­cently cou­pled with deficits and grow­ing debt can have real neg­a­tive con­se­quences for Canadians and the econ­omy,” Cle­mens said.

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