Friday, June 15, 2012

Canadian Federal deficits or surpluses from 1963 to 2011

This data comes from CBC News.  

Amounts are billions of dollars.  Column 1 is the actual amount and column is the amount adjusted for inflation to 2011.    Red are deficits, black are surpluses.  The ten worst years in each column are highlighted.


Year Surplus/deficit Adjusted  % of GDP
1963 -$1.20 -$14.70 -2.50  
1964 -$0.37 -$2.70 -0.70
1965 -$0.02 -$0.14 0.00
1966 -$0.49 -$3.30 -0.70
1967 -$1.00 -$6.80 -1.50
1968 -$0.67 -$4.20 -0.90
1969 $0.10 $0.80 0.20
1970 -$1.00 -$6.00 -1.10
1971 -$1.80 -$10.00 -1.80
1972 -$1.90 -$10.20 -1.70
1973 -$2.20 -$10.80 -1.70
1974 -$2.20 -$9.70 -1.40
1975 -$6.20 -$24.70 -3.60
1976 -$6.90 -$26.00 -3.40
1977 -$10.80 -$37.50 -4.90
1978 -$13.00 -$41.30 -5.30
1979 -$11.90 -$34.60 -4.30
1980 -$14.60 -$37.90 -4.60
1981 -$15.70 -$36.30 -4.30
1982 -$29.00 -$61.70 -7.60
1983 -$32.40 -$65.70 -7.90
1984 -$37.20 -$72.80 -8.30
1985 -$33.30 -$62.60 -6.90
1986 -$29.80 -$53.70 -5.80
1987 -$29.00 -$50.10 -5.20
1988 -$29.90 -$46.50 -4.60
1989 -$29.10 -$46.00 -4.40
1990 -$33.90 -$51.00 -5.00
1991 -$32.30 -$46.90 -4.70
1992 -$39.00 -$55.30 -5.60
1993 -$38.50 -$53.80 -5.30
1994 -$36.60 -$51.00 -4.80
1995 -$30.00 -$41.10 -3.70
1996 -$8.70 -$11.70 -1.00
1997 $2.90 $3.90 0.30
1998 $5.80 $7.60 0.60
1999 $14.20 $18.30 1.50
2000 $19.90 $24.70 1.80
2001 $8.00 $9.90 0.70
2002 $6.60 $7.90 0.60
2003 $9.10 $10.60 0.80
2004 $1.40 $1.70 0.10
2005 $13.20 $14.80 0.90
2006 $13.80 $15.10 0.90
2007 $9.60 $10.30 0.60
2008 -$5.80 -$6.10 -0.40
2009 -$55.60 -$58.20 -3.60
2010 -$33.30 -$34.10 -2.10
2011 -$23.50 -$23.50 -1.48

First off, the current government may have had the largest deficit in absolute terms, but it is fifth worst in dollar terms when adjusted for inflation and 17th worst when measured against GDP.

Clearly the worst years were 1983,84, 85, 90, 92 and 93.  Four of the six where during the Mulroney era.  In fact while Mulroney was Prime Minister Canada's lowest deficit measured against GDP was -4.4% in 1989 which my any reckoning is not good.

In the 18 budgets from 1977 to 1994 Canada did not drop below -4.3%.  

The surplus years from 1996 to 2007 allowed Canada to pay off $104,500,000,000 though over the 49 years we accumulated a net increase to the debt of  $574,250,000,000.   Canada was sitting on about $50,000,000,000 in debt in 1963.   Our current "oldest" debt goes back to 1981 - what I mean by that is that all the money borrowed since 1981 has been collecting interest non-stop.

In Canada we also have to always remember that not only the Federal government has borrowed a lot money but so to have the provinces.   When provincial debt is counted, Canada is carrying way too much debt, we are at about 84% of our GDP when it comes to debt.  Major countries worse than this:

  • Japan 230%
  • Greece 160% (old data and is likely much higher now)
  • Italy 120%
  • Portugal 107%
  • Ireland 105%
  • US 103%
  • Belgium 99%
  • UK 84%

It is not a long list of countries that are holding as much or more debt than Canada.  In dollar terms Canada has a public debt of about $1,300,000,000,000 - that is 1.3 trillion - not the number starting with a T.

Where should we be at?  How about where Australia is - less than 30%.  Their Kiwi neighbours are at 37%.  How about Sweden, the welfare state paradise is only at 38%.

Federally and provincially Canada needs to set a target of debt to GDP ratio of no more than 50% and the country should try to achieve this within the next five years.
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