Federal economics and fiscal ‘snapshot’ coming July 8: Trudeau

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OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is promising to deliver a “snapshot” of the federal government’s finances in the House of Commons July 8.

The Liberals were supposed to present a full budget for 2020 in March but postponed it indefinitely when the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

Trudeau has said uncertainty from the pandemic makes meaningful forecasts impossible.

That’s why he is warning the financial details to be delivered in July will not be a full economic update, but rather a slimmed-down version, detailing government spending measures that have been rolled out so far during the pandemic with some short-term spending estimates.

“I’ve consistently said an economic and fiscal update would be unrealistic right now because it automatically includes projections for a year, three years, five years ahead of time which, quite frankly, we couldn’t make any responsible predictions about it,” Trudeau said Wednesday.

Every two weeks, the Liberals have updated the Commons finance committee on the emergency COVID-19 spending measures and those reports will form the basis of what will be presented on July 8, he explained.

“We will gather all that together along with a sense of where we are, comparisons to where we are compared other countries and some estimates on where we could be in the coming months,” Trudeau said.

“But this will not be an economic update, it will be more of a snapshot or a portrait of where we are right now.”

Revenues have plunged and expenses have soared as millions of workers stopped earning incomes as their workplaces shut down, and started collecting benefits instead.

Trudeau says the situation demanded the biggest government response in our lifetimes.

That’s sent estimates of the federal deficit into orbit, to $250 billion or more.