For many Canadians, the recent rise in interest rates has led to a significant increase in their monthly payments for variable mortgages, lines of credit, and personal debt.
That has caused great concern as families struggle to make ends meet. In addition to the rise in interest rates, there have been significant increases in property taxes, insurance, groceries, gasoline, diesel, and home heating, such as natural gas or propane and that has made it even more difficult for Canadian households to service their debt, with many finding it unsustainable.
The challenge of servicing debt is not limited to households but extends to different levels of government as well. With higher borrowing costs, governments must divert funds from other critical services to pay off their debt. That can significantly impact the lives of Canadians, particularly those in rural communities who rely on government funding to repair their infrastructure and maintain essential services.
Recently, during an appearance by the finance minister before the finance committee in Ottawa, the topic of debt servicing arose.
The minister was asked how much the federal government is projected to spend on interest on the debt for the upcoming fiscal year The minister refused to provide a number and called the question "fiscal fear-mongering” by the Conservatives.
This response is troubling, as Canadians have the right to know how much is spent on debt servicing. The federal government debt servicing charges for the current fiscal year are estimated to be $43.9 billion. That means significant money is unavailable to fund critical services such as healthcare or support rural communities.
The fiscal year 2021-2022’s public debt servicing costs $20.4 billion.
Since this minister took over the responsibility for finance, our debt servicing has effectively doubled and lacks any projection for a return to balance, which only makes the situation worse. This issue will continue to be the elephant in the room for this government.
As a concerned Canadian, I urge the finance minister to take this matter seriously and provide clear answers regarding our country's fiscal issues.
Canadians deserve to know the truth about our finances and how our tax dollars are spent.
My question this week:
How concerned are you about federal government debt and the apparent lack of seriousness on this subject from our Finance Minister?
I can be reached at [email protected] or call toll-free at 1-800-665-8711.
Dan Albas is the Conservative MP for Central Oknagan-Similkameen-Nicola.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.