Fraser Institute News Release: Justin Trudeau only prime minister in more than a century to increase per-person debt without facing war or recession

Fraser Institute News Release: Justin Trudeau only prime minister in more than a century to increase per-person debt without facing war or recession

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Feb. 04, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Justin Trudeau is the only prime minister since 1900—and only one of three prime ministers since Confederation—to increase Canada’s per-person debt without facing a world war or recession, finds a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.
The other two prime ministers to have increased per-person debt outside of times of war or recession were John Abbott (1891-92) and Mackenzie Bowell (1894-96).“Government debt matters—more debt means more tax dollars are diverted away from important public programs to pay interest, and it leaves future generations on the hook for today’s spending,” said Jake Fuss, policy analyst with the Fraser Institute and co-author of Examining Federal Debt in Canada by Prime Ministers Since Confederation, 2020.The study tracks the debt legacies of every Canadian prime minister since Confederation—how much they increased or decreased gross federal debt (which includes all federal financial liabilities) during their time in office, after accounting for both inflation and population changes.According to the study, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will have increased per-person federal debt by 5.6 per cent from 2015 to 2019—the largest increase of any prime minister whose time in office didn’t include a world war or recession.Compare that to other recent prime ministers such as Jean Chrétien, Paul Martin and Lester B. Pearson whose tenures were also without a world war or recession. Chrétien cut per-person federal government debt by 13.3 per cent followed by Martin (7.6 per cent) and Pearson (6.7 per cent).Among all prime ministers, Robert Borden, who governed during the First World War and four years of economic downturns, increased per-person debt levels the most (188.1 per cent). Louis St. Laurent lowered the federal per-person debt the most (34.3 per cent), even though his tenure included two recessions.“Justin Trudeau is the only prime minister since 1900 who has increased the federal per-person debt without a world war or economic downturn,” Fuss said.“The increased debt we incur now will put financial pressure on future governments and taxpayers.”MEDIA CONTACT:
Jake Fuss, Policy Analyst
Fraser Institute
Jason Clemens, Executive Vice-President
Fraser Institute
To arrange media interviews or for more information, please contact:
Bryn Weese, Associate Director, Communications
Fraser Institute
604-688-0221 ext. 589
bryn.weese@fraserinstitute.org
Follow the Fraser Institute on Twitter  |  Like us on FacebookThe Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of think-tanks in 87 countries. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for Canadians, their families and future generations by studying, measuring and broadly communicating the effects of government policies, entrepreneurship and choice on their well-being. To protect the Institute’s independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit www.fraserinstitute.org
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