Latest edition of MLI’s magazine explores Ottawa’s looming fiscal pressures as it moves back into the black with a federal budget surplus

OTTAWA, Oct. 3, 2014 – What’s the path for the federal government now that it’s nearly back in the black?

That’s the question at the heart of the cover story for the October 2014 issue of Inside Policy, the magazine of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute.

Stanley Hartt, a former deputy minister at the department of finance and chief of staff in the Prime Minister’s Office, argues that the federal government should exercise prudence in deciding what to do with a modest surplus expected in its next budget.

There is no shortage of potential spending priorities for the federal government in the short term: income splitting, new programs, debt reduction and investment in new infrastructure.

But, Hartt argues, the government would be wise to scan the horizon for looming budgetary pressures.

Canada’s aging population should force a re-evaluation of retirement savings options and a continued search for more efficient means of delivering health care. Growing debt service charges, which infringe on a government’s ability to pursue new initiatives, also loom.

The federal budget may be into surplus even sooner than expected. This week the government announced the 2013-14 deficit was more than $10 billion lower than forecast.

To read the October 2014 edition of Inside Policy, click here.

This issue of Inside Policy also includes an excellent selection of articles on a broad range of public policy challenges:

-Public affairs expert Elaine Depow finds that Canada is still trailing its competitors on intellectual property policy.

-MLI Senior Fellow Ken Coates argues that, rather than punting the issue of violence against Aboriginal women to a national inquiry, Canadians should start a “problem-solver’s movement”.

-F.H. Buckley delivers an excerpt from The Once and Future King, his new book arguing that Canada’s political system is more conducive to freedom than the United States’.

-The Canadian Renewable Fuels Association responds to a report MLI published earlier this year which found that biofuel subsidy programs have been an expensive failure in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

This issue also includes items from MLI Managing Director Brian Lee Crowley, foreign policy expert Aurel Braun and Toronto emergency room physician Brett Belchetz.

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Inside Policy, edited by James Anderson, is published six times a year. The Macdonald-Laurier Institute is the only non-partisan, independent national public policy think tank in Ottawa focusing on the full range of issues that fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government.

For more information, please contact Mark Brownlee, communications manager, at 613-482-8327 x. 105 or email at On Twitter @MLInstitute

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