Canada’s debt is projected to be $600 billion in 2015. The cost of servicing that debt will be nearly $29 billion. Our government pays $93 million in interest every day. That debt burden drains support from essential government programs. Imagine what $29 billion could do to alleviate poverty and provide affordable housing and affordable post-secondary education in Canada.
Being indebted to external creditors also makes our political decision makers vulnerable to pressures from outside our country. The 1994 International Monetary Fund (IMF) Report to Canada recommended that our government reduce the number of hospital beds, convert student bursaries to interest-bearing student loans, and cut funding to the National Film Board, the CBC and VIA Rail. The government of the day implemented all of these cuts. Canadians lost 10% of our hospital beds the following year and today we have a wait time crisis in our health care system. If we had no debt, we would no longer be beholden to the IMF and global credit rating agencies.
The Green Party believes in living within our limits, ecologically and fiscally. We are committed to a balanced budget and to reducing the national debt. It won’t be easy. To pay down the debt, particularly the Liberals’ large deficit increase, while supporting programs that meet immediate social, economic, and environmental needs, we must maintain a healthy and fair level of taxation and we must ensure that Canadians get good value for their tax dollars.
Green Party MPs will:
Ensure that we do not transfer the deficit from our financial statements to our bridges, water-works, and other critical infrastructure needs. Pay attention to the ecological, social, and infrastructure deficit;
Set a disciplined schedule to gradually pay down the debt while maintaining public services and programs that meet immediate social and environmental needs, increasing debt reduction over time but starting with modest targets to permit investment in critical programs.