Don Drummond, now a Stauffer-Dunning Fellow at Queen’s University and the assistant deputy minister of fiscal policy at the federal Finance Department in the mid-1990s, released a research paper by the C.D. Howe Institute. In his analysis, he examines four possible paths for federal spending, deficits and debt over the next decade.
Mr. Drummond had a seat at the table the last time Canada grappled with a debt crisis in the 1990s during the first term of Liberal prime minister Jean Chrétien, part of a career that spanned multiple Liberal and Progressive Conservative administrations. Then an assistant deputy minister at the Finance Department under Paul Martin, Mr. Drummond helped to draft the fiscal plan that dramatically curtailed federal spending.
He says he sees similarities between today’s Liberal government and that of Pierre Trudeau in the 1970s, with both administrations ignoring warning signs that economic growth is slowing and that fiscal pressures will grow as a result. And he has a simple rebuttal for those who dismiss his concerns as those akin to an old general wanting to refight old wars. “What do you want to bet that everything is different, and the conditions of the previous battleground are still not relevant?”
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