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Liberals did not show fiscal restraint in fall update: parliamentary budget officer

Parliamentary budget officer Yves Giroux says the federal government did not show fiscal restraint in its recent fall economic statement.
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Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux waits to appear before appearing at the Senate Committee on National Finance on October 25, 2022 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Parliamentary budget officer Yves Giroux says the federal government did not show fiscal restraint in its recent fall economic statement.

Giroux told MPs at a House of Commons finance committee that the federal government is spending a significant portion of the new fiscal room it has this year.

High inflation and the COVID-19 recovery have boosted government revenues, resulting in a lower-than-projected federal deficit.

But the Liberals have earmarked $52.2 billion in new spending out of the $81.2 billion in new fiscal room since their spring budget.

Giroux said spending that much is not “keeping one’s powder dry,” referencing remarks Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland made when she presented the mini-budget.

Giroux also raised the issue of transparency in government finances, citing $14.2 billion in new measures for which the government did not provide specific details.

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