Page: Morneau’s spending snapshot raises big questions about future

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Kevin Page is founding President and CEO at the Institute for Fiscal Studies and Democracy at University of Ottawa, and was Canada’s first Parliamentary Budget Officer. This article is reprinted from Policy Magazine.

Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau has tabled his 2020 Economic and Fiscal Snapshot. It is an important document. After four months of continuous updates from public health officials on the transmission of COVID-19 and spending announcements by federal political leaders, we now have a better understanding of the size of the economic problem generated by social distancing and other containment measures. It is a big, ugly hole filled with economic hardship and uncertainty: historic declines in output and employment.

The 2020 snapshot is also important for what is not in the document. There is no forward-fiscal strategy and plan to address economic recovery. Simply said, the government is not ready for that kind of planning. Pressure will build on the government to release a strategy and plan when Parliament resumes in the early fall.

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