Tag: Berneice

Ottawa runs deficit bigger than 10 billion three years in a row

OTTAWA — The federal government ran a $14-billion deficit in 2018-19, according to its latest annual financial report, the third year in a row with a shortfall bigger than $10 billion.The deficit for the fiscal year that ended March 31 was $900 million smaller than the government projected in last spring’s federal budget, however.Revenues in 2018-19 expanded by $21 billion — or 6.7 per cent — compared to the previous year, said the report released Tuesday.The government’s revenue ratio, which is total revenues as a percentage of the size of the economy, increased last year by 15 per cent to reach its highest level since before the financial crisis in 2007-08. The growth in the ratio, which was 14.5 per cent in 2017-18, was mostly due to growth in personal and corporate income tax revenues and other taxes, the report said.The revenue gain was partially offset by an increase of $14.6 billion — or 4.7 per cent — in program expenses and an increase of $1.4 billion — or 6.3 per cent — in public debt charges.The 2018-19 deficit follows two straight $19-billion shortfalls, and the annual financial numbers haven’t shown a surplus since 2006-07.Overall, the federal debt increased to $685.5 billion at the end of 2018-19. The debt-to-GDP ratio — a measure of how burdensome the national debt is — fell to 30.9 per cent from 31.3 per cent in 2017-18, the report shows.The state of federal finances has already been the subject of political debate during the election campaign as parties argue whether the government should make an effort to balance the federal books — and how quickly.In the three full fiscal years since the Liberals came to power, the federal government has posted $52 billion worth of shortfalls even though the economy has had a solid run of growth.The Liberals won the 2015 election on a platform that promised annual deficits of no more than $10 billion and to return to balance by 2019.After taking office, the Liberals abandoned the pledge and argued even larger deficit-driven investments were needed to improve Canada’s long-term economic growth. The government shifted its focus instead to reducing the net debt-to-GDP ratio each year.The Conservatives have long attacked the Liberals for breaking their 2015 deficit pledge and for not providing a timeline to return to balanced budgets. They’ve accused the Liberals of borrowing today on the backs of future generations.Ahead of next month’s election, the Liberals have laid out projections calling for five more years of deficits of at least $10 billion.Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is promising to pull Canada out of the red in about five years.Jagmeet Singh’s NDP, which promised balanced books in each of the last several election campaigns, no longer has a timetable to balance the books. Instead, it’s focusing on lowering the debt-to-GDP each year.Green Leader Elizabeth May has committed to returning Canada to budgetary balance in five years.Maxime Bernier’s new People’s Party of Canada is the only political party that’s promised a quick path to balanced books — within two years. read more

UN rights forum asks parties to Iraq conflict to follow humanitarian law

Earlier Friday, on the final morning of its 2003 session, the Geneva-based Commission on Human Rights also adopted measures on the situations in Haiti and Colombia as well as lengthy resolutions on the state of affairs in Afghanistan, Somalia, Cambodia and Sierra Leone.The Commission also approved brief measures on providing technical assistance and advisory services to Chad and appointed an independent expert in Liberia for an initial period of three years to facilitate cooperation between the Government and the Office of the High Commissioner.Through its resolution on Iraq, the Commission called on the international community to address the major humanitarian needs of the people, and called on it to assist in the development of free and democratic institutions in the country. The 53-member body also extended for one year the mandate of its Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iraq.Under the Chairperson’s statement on Haiti, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights was asked to expand its activities in that country by setting up an office. Expressing the deep concern of Chairperson Najat Al-Hajjaji of Liberia at the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Haiti, the statement urged the Government to continue to step up its efforts to combat impunity for human rights violations, to strengthen the rule of law, and to ensure the independence of the judiciary and to protect political leaders, journalists, trade union activists and human rights defenders.The statement on Colombia, meanwhile, noted the Government’s effort to increase human rights training, but expressed concern at continued reports of human rights abuses attributed to the armed and security forces. The Commission also firmly condemned all acts of terrorism and other criminal acts, the recruitment of a large number of children by illegal armed groups, the practice of kidnapping and all threats, attacks and assassinations by paramilitary or other illegal armed groups against persons who carried out peaceful political activities.The resolution on Afghanistan noted with concern reports of violence perpetrated by Afghan elements against certain ethnic groups, internally displaced persons and refugees who had returned, as well as cases of arbitrary arrest and detention and attacks against women and girls. It also requested Secretary-General Kofi Annan to appoint an independent expert to aid and advise the country’s Transitional Authority on human rights matters.By the text on assistance to Somalia, the Commission expressed deep concern at reported cases of rape, arbitrary and summary executions, torture and violence, in particular against women and children, and at the absence of an effective judicial system. It also condemned ongoing widespread violations and abuses of human rights and humanitarian law, and called on all States not to interfere in the internal affairs of Somalia. The Commission extended the mandate of the independent expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia for a further year.The text on the situation of human rights in Cambodia cited progress made in a number of human rights matters but noted with concern continued problems related to the rule of law and the functioning of the judiciary. read more