Christy Clark tops the list for the best record of Canada's premiers for fiscal management according to a report from the Fraser Institute.

The report's authors based their findings on three main factors: government spending, tax rates and debt. Clark excelled in one category in particular, according to the think tank: running a surplus.

"Premier Clark's performance is largely driven by her ability to manage increases in government spending more prudently compared to her counterparts," said Charles Lammam, director of fiscal studies at the Fraser Institute.  

"In addition she's one of the few premiers who has managed to run a surplus, a budget surplus over the course of her tenure."

Clark received a score of 78.5 out of 100 and Quebec premier Philippe Couillard came a close second in the report, while Ontario's Kathleen Wynne ranked last among sitting premiers.

'Deficit now is the wrong choice'

Lammam says there is no hard and fast rule about when governments should run deficits, because it can make sense during tough economic times.

"When there's a shock to the economy, government revenues can decline, some types of spending can automatically increase — things like unemployment insurance."

But he says provincial and federal governments should not be spending more than what they have in the bank today, eight years after the 2008 recession.

"To fall back into deficit now is the wrong choice for any government, really."


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