Canada’s robust credit rating should calm unease about federal deficits: Trudeau

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OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recommends any Canadians worried about his government’s deficits to look at the country’s strong standing with international credit-rating agencies for reassurance.

Speaking to The Canadian Press in a wide-ranging interview, Trudeau says Canada’s triple-A rating with agencies like Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s should provide comfort to taxpayers who fear his government has been accumulating too much debt.

Trudeau says Canada’s long-running triple-A rating means experts have confidence in his government’s approach to the economy — even though many critics, and especially the Conservatives, warn Ottawa should be curbing deficit-spending in a stronger-than-expected economy.

Asked about the next inevitable downturn or recession, Trudeau argues his government’s moves to boost immigration and to make investments in areas like skills training, public transit and a lower-carbon economy have made Canada more resilient against future shocks.

The Trudeau Liberals were elected in 2015 on a pledge to run modest annual shortfalls of no more than $10 billion and to balance the books by 2019. Instead, they have posted yearly deficits almost double that size and no longer have a timetable to return to balance.

After taking office, the Trudeau government shifted its focus to keeping the government’s debt burden on a downward track — and Trudeau says Ottawa will stick to that benchmark in the future.

The Canadian Press