The federal deficit has grown to a projected $343 billion as the federal government continues to provide financial supports throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, according to an update from the Department of Finance last week.
The fiscal snapshot, delivered by Finance Minister Bill Morneau, touted the federal response, which includes over $315 billion in COVID-19 support for individuals, families and businesses.
While Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison noted the necessity of government COVID-19 supports, he added there needs to be accountability in order to ensure funding goes to where it is needed.
“Without having Parliament sitting since March 15, it’s really difficult to drill down and get those answers,” Morrison said.
The federal government suspended Parliament in response to the pandemic, later opting to conduct legislative affairs through a special committee that meets once a week in the House of Commons with reduced capacity and twice a week through video-conferencing.
Morrison added that the increase in the deficit projects the national debt to reach $1 trillion, and criticized the fiscal update for failing to provide a five-year forecast.
“We know we need to do a lot of work and I think it’s time to get the economy restarted,” Morrison said. “It’s time to start rebuilding. Our economy internationally struggles. We need to build more relationships so that we can sell our products internationally and we have some really good products to sell.
“Our energy sector is starving and the tax base surrounding the energy sector is significant, as well as the jobs it creates for helping people living in Kootenay-Columbia.”
According to the fiscal update, 5.5 million Canadians have experienced job loss or reduced hours since March. The update also notes private sector economists are predicting the economy to contract by 6.8 per cent this year, before rebounding by 5.5 per cent in 2021.
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