Chrystia Freeland Raises Federal Borrowing Limit To Half A Trillion

The Liberals may not be helping themselves (or are they helping themselves?) with all the accusations of irresponsible handling of federal funds. Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland gave herself the authority to raise the country’s borrowing limit for by $73 billion without specifying any reason.

The borrowing limit is now at $517 billion, up from the original $444 billion set until the end of the fiscal year on March 31. According to Blacklock’s Reporter, Freeland was able to raise the ceiling through a February 15 order under the Financial Administration Act.

What many find concerning is that the Trudeau administration had already raised the federal debt ceiling by 56% in 2021, from $1.168 trillion to $1.831 trillion under the Borrowing Authority Act.

The move highlights the worrying and somewhat laissez-faire attitude of the Liberals when it comes to the federal budget. It brings flashbacks of what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said 10 years ago: “The budget will budget itself.” As the Western Standard notes, the last time the budget was balanced was in 2007, and Freeland did not signal that they were going to anytime soon. 

At his February 13 testimony at the Senate National Finance Committee, Budget Officer Yves Giroux was asked by Senator Elizabeth Marshall if the borrowing limit was still realistic. His response was that he doesn’t know “exactly what the government plans on spending or doing in terms of new spending or potential spending.”

Marshall pushed further and asked if the limit was still reasonable. To which he said, “It looks sufficient but the government always wants to give itself some room to maneuver in case there are unforeseen events that require borrowing on short notice.” 

Before the limit was first raised in 2021, Freeland defended it by saying at the House of Commons that the increase “is in no way a blank cheque,” and that “every single expenditure by the government needs to be authorized by Parliament. The borrowing authority sets a transparent and accountable maximum limit as to how much the government can borrow.”

But that was for Covid-19 spending, for which she said that they would be “mindful that limits exist,” and argued that their “fiscally expansive approach to fighting the coronavirus cannot and will not be infinite.”

Years later, it’s become evident with revelations such as this, and this, that the Liberals may not have been all that mindful. Why then raise it again this time?

As Giroux said during his testimony, “we will have to see.” 

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