Abandoning any chance of a balanced budget

In early January of this year, I reported on concerns regarding the significant increase in the use of private consultants by the Trudeau Liberal government.

When first elected to our country’s highest office in 2015, Prime Minister Trudeau promised to reduce the use of external consultants to save billions (as reported by the National Post). However, as I pointed out in my January MP report, the Trudeau Liberal Government has increased the use of private consultants by close to 60% since 2015.

This week, the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) released a new report on the overall size of the Federal Government: “Full-Time Equivalents in the Federal Public Service – 2023-24 Departmental Plans”.

Despite the significant increase in the use of private consultants, the PBO has revealed that the overall size of the federal public government has increased from roughly 340,000 full-time equivalents (FTE) in 2014/15 to 413,000 FTEs in 2021-2022.

The 2023-24 departmental plans indicate that the number of FTEs is projected to reach 428,000 in 2022-23, representing an increase of 23,000 full-time people compared to the departmental plans from the previous year.

Interestingly, the long-term departmental plan forecasts that the federal public service will be reduced to 400,000 FTEs in 2025-26; however, the PBO has pointed out that “current plans do not include additional FTEs that will likely result from new measures announced by the Government in Budget 2023”.

In terms of costs, as CBC recently reported, “Ottawa is projected to spend about $151 billion more next year than it did in 2014-15, the year before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his party won government in November.”

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s budget projects total expenses will be $496.9 billion in 2023-24 when there’s no extraordinary pandemic-related spending. And under Freeland’s current plan, spending will increase in the years to come. 

Her budget projects spending will reach $555.7 billion in 2027-28.

For context, this level of spending now exceeds sixteen percent of Canada’s GDP, the highest it has been in over three decades, given that the Liberal Government no longer projects any return to a balanced budget and has abandoned all fiscal guardrails.

Since federal income tax returns are due on May 1st, 2023, many Canadians will know how much of their household income will go to Ottawa this year.

My question to you:

Is your household getting good value for the increased spending under Prime Minister Trudeau?

Please reach me at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll-free 1-800-665-8711.