In Parliament: Holding Libs to Account on Spending and Debt

When answering questions about excess spending and mounting debt, the Liberals love to claim that Canada's debt to GDP ratio is the best in the G-7. That's nonsense, playing with numbers to find a desired answer, even if it isn't correct.

In this exchange, I challenged the Member of Parliament for Kings-Hants (NS) to explain why the government had to spend $176 billion extra on things that had nothing to do with the pandemic.

 

TRANSCRIPT

Greg McLean, Calgary-Centre
Madam Speaker, I want to ask my good friend from Kings—Hants about some of the statistics he quoted, including the one about the best debt-to-GDP ratio in the G7. Surely he has some better numbers than that, because that is clearly not the case when we look at the country as a whole and when we look at the nature of what he is talking about here.
The member said Conservatives need to pick a lane. Which lane are we in as far as overspending by $560 billion goes? The Parliamentary Budget Officer says $176 billion had nothing to do with COVID. Money has been spent on COVID, which we have supported while we get through this pandemic, but could the member please tell us why the government had to spend $176 billion extra on things that had absolutely nothing to do with the pandemic?
Kody Blois, Kings-Hants
Madam Speaker, let me congratulate the member for Calgary Centre. He is very articulate, and I really appreciate his opportunities and interventions in the House.
I will say that I was quoting, and he will have to go back into Hansard to see if I misrepresented. I was quoting that Canada has the best net debt-to-GDP ratio in the G7, and that number is quoted directly from Finance Canada. If he takes issue with it, I would encourage the member to raise it in his committee.
What I find ironic about the Conservative Party is that when I ask the question back as to what program they would not have supported, there is very rarely any answer as to what that would be.
To answer the member's question, the pandemic is front and centre in terms of the issues that the government is tackling, but we have other issues to tackle, such as reconciliation, climate change and continuing to support different innovations in the economy, as we were just talking about. The idea that the government could only spend on the pandemic and not on other priorities is certainly not the way we see it on this side of the House.