The Trudeau government tabled its budget for the 2019/20 fiscal year on Tuesday. And next year’s federal deficit will once again eclipse the $10-billion limit promised on the campaign trail, with no near-term plans to return to balance.
A substantial federal deficit during a period of economic expansion is bad news for all Canadians — but it’s especially concerning in Ontario, which is also saddled with a whopping $346-billion provincial debt.
That sounds bad enough. Until you consider that Ontarians are also on the hook for approximately 40% of the federal government’s net debt, which comes to about another $280 billion. Add these up, and you find that Ontarians are responsible for an aggregate net debt load of approximately $625 billion.
It’s difficult for anybody to comprehend such a large number, so a little bit of context is helpful. If you add up the provincial debt and Ontario’s share of the federal debt and divide it between Ontario’s residents, you get a net debt per person of $42,500 for every man, woman and child in the province.
Clearly, in a country such as Canada, developments at each level of government don’t happen in isolation — they influence and interact with one another. In the case of Ontario, decisions by the provincial and federal governments have piled up debt in recent years. And the the federal government chose in its latest budget to keep piling on the debt.