Surplus hits $13.2 billion
[PoliticsWatch updated 6:05 p.m. September 25, 2006]
OTTAWA — The
federal government announced Monday that it posted a $13.2 billion
surplus for the 2005-2006 fiscal year.
The surplus was estimated to be $8 billion, but Finance
Minister Jim Flaherty said strong revenue growth and lower
program expenses made the surplus larger than forecasted.
The $13.2 billion will be put towards Canada's national debt, which
will lower it to a total of $481.5 billion.
The finance department said that Canada's debt to GDP ratio is the
lowest it has been since 1982.
While in opposition the Conservatives were often critical of the
Liberals for low-balling fiscal forecasts and then posting larger
During a CBC Town Hall meeting during the election campaign, Prime
Minister Stephen Harper criticized the Liberal practice of
running large surpluses.
"What I've specifically advocated for in this election are two
things," he said. "First of all, that the federal government give more of its enormous and growing surpluses back to not just lower levels of government, but also to the ordinary people who paid for these surpluses in the first place through
At a press conference in Ottawa on Monday, Flaherty said that this
could be the final fiscal year where the federal government posts a
"Yes, probably unless there is some tremendous surprise,"
Flaherty and Treasury Board President John Baird also
announced $1 billion in program cuts and other savings.
Baird said the cuts in programs will only result in 300 job losses
in the federal public service, which should be offset by general
Some of the highlights include
> The government estimates it has saved
$46.7 million by having a federal cabinet of just 25
> The end of the softwood lumber dispute will save the federal
government $14.9 million in legal costs.
> The government is cutting the medical marijuana research
program at a savings of $4 million a year.
> The elimination of funding for the Centre for Research and
Information on Canada will save the government $6.5 million a
> The elimination of funding for the Canadian Policy Research
Networks will save the government $3 million a year.
> The federal court challenges program's elimination will save
$5.6 million a year.
> The elimination of the First Nations and Inuit Tobacco Control
Strategy will save $10.8 million a year.
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