The battle over deficits : the struggle to maintain Canada's social welfare state : a thesis /
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Abstract This thesis seeks to answer a number of questions concerning the deficit and debt in Canada. It focuses pri.arily on the federal level of government but with SOBe discussion of provincial governaent policy as well. In ~997, Canada's federal debt caae close ro six hundred billion dollars - $594 billion or 74.4 % of Gross Do.estic Product (GDP) to be exact. The purpose of this theses is threefold: To find out why Canada accu.ulated such a debt, to discover if there is a so-called debt crisis; and to discover if it is possible to preserve Canada's national welfare state given the financial restraints that have been adopted by both federal and provincial governments. Politicians are torn between economist' two contrasting views regarding deficits: Neo-Keynesian and neo-conservative. The neoKeynesian school focuses al1llOst exclusively on the short term stability of the economy and tends to dismiss concerns regarding the level of debt. Neo conservatives focus almost exclusively on the perceived costs of growth in the national debt and are willing to forego any stabilization benefits to ensure that the debt is controlled. These polar view do have one thing in coa.on; both confix-. that deficits influence govermaent policies. Both of these econoBic theories will have far-reaching influences on the federal gover1lJlJent's decision-making process. These economic theories will be discussed throughout this thesis.