Canadian 'debt clock' passes $600 billion mark
Published Sunday, November 25, 2012 12:01PM EST
Last Updated Sunday, November 25, 2012 4:58PM EST
Canada’s debt has passed a milestone, quietly hitting the $600 billion mark this weekend.
The number was spelled out, not in red-ink, but on a virtual “debt clock” set up by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
The online clock uses steadily increasing numbers, similar to the quick-rolling display of a slot machine, to show how Canada’s debt has increased over time.
At a Friday news conference, CTF Director Gregory Thomas said government excess was to blame for the climbing debt. He took aim at Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s economic stimulus spending, calling the effort unnecessary.
The Harper government had lauded stimulus spending as a proactive way to jump start Canada’s economic growth after the 2008-09 global recession.
But Thomas maintains that much of the spending was excessive. He pointed to advertising spending as window dressing, rather than a concrete solution.
“You can't sit through a football game without seeing all this propaganda about what a terrific job the government's doing," he told reporters. “They're borrowing money to sell Canadians on themselves.”
The federation had kinder words for Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, even as the House of Commons still wrestles with his last budget.
Last Friday, the finance committee voted on more than 3,000 proposed amendments to Bill C-45 -- Flaherty’s second budget implementation bill.
The vast majority of the proposed changes were submitted by the Liberals. Included were recommendations to halt cuts to the Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Incentive Program and expand hiring credits for small businesses, according to a Liberal Party news release.
After more than 50 hours of debate, the opposition amendments were defeated.
“We sat for a very long time,” said Conservative Committee Chair James Rajotte. “We had to deal with the NDP on 72 amendments. The Liberals had over 3,000 amendments to the bill.”
The bill, Rajotte said, is headed to Commons for the report stage and third reading.
“Report stage we do expect that there will be some amendments made by some of the parties, as well as by some of the individual members,” he told CTV’s Question Period. “We’ll see how the speaker deals with those amendments.”
NDP MP Peggy Nash has said that the defeat of all the proposed amendments is an issue of government accountability.
“We genuinely tried to put forward substantive amendments that we hoped could see some reason on the other side of the committee,” she said, also speaking to CTV’s Question Period. “Sadly all of the amendments were defeated.”