Chrétien, Martin, Harper: Who has the best fiscal record? - 2015-03-18
Part 1 in a two-part series. In Part II: Is being tough on spending and deficits the best measure of sound fiscal management?
As we approach the next federal general election, lots of claims will be made regarding the performance of different political parties as fiscal managers. At least in the case of the federal Liberals and Conservatives, we can use historical data to inform our views. Many factors can affect governments' fiscal results. For example, the financial state inherited from one's predecessor or economic booms or recessions or even the political mood of the country. Looking at a few summary measures won't give a very nuanced view of fiscal performance and the reasons that lie behind it. But an examination of the numbers will give us a starting point from which to assess governments' successes and failures.
So what do the numbers say about the performance of the last three governments as fiscal managers? Can any party or Prime Minister lay claim to being the best? Today and tomorrow we look back at the fiscal record of the current and previous two governments.