REALITY CHECK: B.C. Liberal Deficit Deception Keeps Getting Worse

Posted in:

In another post-election bombshell, the B.C. Liberals have admitted they weren't telling British Columbians the truth when they promised to restore balanced budgets after two years of deficits.

Today's announcement that the government will extend the duration of red ink for at least another two years is staggering hypocrisy, and a complete reversal of previous positions taken by the B.C. Liberals.

Prior to the 2009 budget, they promised there would be no deficit:

  • “In British Columbia there is legislation that says deficits are illegal. So I will be bringing down on Feb. 17 a balanced budget.”
    Colin Hansen Vancouver Sun, Dec. 6, 2008

Then they promised a small deficit of two years only:

  • “It will be necessary to run a temporary deficit, for the next two years only. By the third year, we will once again be back, enjoying balanced budgets.”
    Colin Hansen, The Province, Feb. 3, 2009

They attacked Carole James for predicting the need for longer deficits:

  • “NDP's Spending Plan Will Break Balanced Budget Law.”
    B.C. Liberal Caucus news release, March 4, 2009
  • “NDP Plan to Scrap Balanced Budget Law — The NDP have revealed their reckless and irresponsible plan to plunge B.C. into years of massive deficits and scrap the law requiring a balanced budget by 2011.”
    Liberal Party website, March 6, 2009

They promised the deficit would be small:

  • “The deficit for 2009-10 will be $495 million maximum.”
    Gordon Campbell, Vancouver Sun, April 24, 2009
  • “If I were in a position to table a budget today it would be a deficit of $495 million or less… I am still confident that come Sept. 1 we will be able to deliver on that.” 
    Colin Hansen, Vancouver Sun, June 11, 2009

Then they admitted the deficits wouldn’t be small:

  • “The old summer switcheroo continued yesterday from the Gordon Campbell government. Another day, another bit of election doubletalk gets exposed as a sham. This time this is a big one: the deficit. The bottom line, the deficit is out of control in British Columbia.”
    Michael Smyth, CKNW, Aug. 20, 2009

And now it's all out the window:

  • “Another stunning economic announcement from Finance Minister Colin Hansen today. Hansen says B.C. cannot return to surplus budgets in three years as planned so he will introduce amendments in the legislature next week that will allow the government to table deficit budgets for an extra two years.”
    CKNW, Aug. 20, 2009

Throughout the entire mess, the only thing the B.C. Liberals have consistently done is ignore all the warning signs. Even back in February leading economist Helmut Pastrick predicted a much larger deficit, but the Liberals dismissed him as “pessimistic”. And they accused Carole James of “fear mongering” every time the New Democrats warned that B.C. Liberal revenue projections were out of touch with reality.