March 27, 2016 11:09 am

How will Canadians know if the Liberal fiscal plan is working?

Finance Minister Bill Morneau tells Tom Clark his government will get to a balanced budget in about five years as the priority now is to invest today for future generations.

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The federal budget has been tabled, the headlines have been written and the reactions have been pouring in.

But after the dust settles, how will Canadians know if the financial plan put forward by the Trudeau government is actually working to turn the economy around?

Finance Minister Bill Morneau joined the West Block’s Tom Clark this weekend to discuss just that. It took some prodding, but the minister finally settled on one strong indicator of overall success: the country’s gross domestic product.

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“I think to the extent we’re successful, we will see (GDP) growth paces that are at the level that we projected or better, and that’ll be an important metric for me, for Canadians,” he said. “Of course, not everything is within our control because of the global economy.”

The minister also pointed to potential job-creation numbers as a measure of success.

“So $11.5 billion dollars in new measures this year, so those $11.5 billion dollars’ worth of new measures actually create jobs. So we’ve calculated about 43,000 new jobs. In next year, 2017-18, it’s about $14.5 billion dollars of new measures. We calculate about a cumulative impact of about 100,000 new jobs.”

Clark also spoke to Bruce Anderson of Abacus Data, who said that polling shows Canadians feel the Liberals are spending their money a little too liberally with a projected deficit of $29.4 billion next year.

Still, a large proportion of poll respondents also feel that the government’s spending plan is going to move Canada in the right direction. About four in ten Conservative supporters are even willing to go along with this fiscal plan.

“I think that really is an indication that the Liberals through the campaign and in the period thereafter, have been able to persuade people that the combination of the priorities that they want to spend money on and the condition of the economy warrants this kind of imbalance,” Anderson said.

Watch the full interview with Bruce Anderson here:

 

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