Politics

Trudeau says finance minister will present a fiscal and economic 'snapshot' on July 8

The Trudeau government will finally update the country on the state of government finances on July 8.

Budget was shelved in March as the novel coronavirus spread around the world

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government will update the country on the state of its finances next month. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

The Trudeau government will finally update the country on the state of government finances on July 8.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today confirmed CBC's report that the fiscal "snapshot" is coming next month.

"This will give Canadians a picture of where our economy is right now, how our response compares to that of other countries, and what we can expect for the months to come," he said.Trudeau said that because of the economic uncertainty created by the global pandemic, the update will not be the same as the ones in previous years.

"I've consistently said that 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 simply couldn't make any responsible predictions about," he said.

Watch: Trudeau tells reporters his government will deliver a fiscal update on July 8:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took questions from reporters outside Rideau Cottage on Wednesday. 2:10

He would not offer a timeframe for presenting a full economic update or a budget, saying only it will happen once the economy has stabilized.

Trudeau said the economy is now moving from an emergency to a recovery phase.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau formally announced the date for the update in Parliament today.

Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre criticized the government for failing to present a complete fiscal update.

"A dictionary defines 'snapshot' for a hunter as a shot, quickly taken, without deliberate aim. Is that how the minister describes his own spending?" he asked in the House.

Morneau said it's important for the government be transparent with Canadians and the full picture will be tabled as soon as the economy settles.

"Canadians will get a good understanding of the investments we've made and our underlying economic situation," he said

Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet accused the government of choosing to table the information at a time when few people will be paying attention.

"I fear that the government will try to make it happen in the middle of summer in order to have people not watch it, while they will be having a beer around the barbecue," he said. "And I think it is quite another lack of respect for the Parliament."

Watch: BQ Leader Yves-François Blanchet accuses Liberals of showing 'a lack of respect' for Parliament

Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet accuses the government of choosing to table its fiscal snapshot in the middle of summer, when few people will be paying attention. 0:46

The government shelved its plan to present a budget in March, as the novel coronavirus spread around the world and the country went on lockdown. It has been under pressure to give a detailed economic update ever since. 

Until now, Trudeau has dismissed those calls, arguing there are simply too many variables to make an accurate projection of how the economy will respond.

"There are so many things we simply don't know … making projections about what our economy would look like in six months from now or a year from now is simply an exercise in invention and imagination," he told reporters last week at one of his daily briefings.

While the government has used the uncertainty as an excuse, others — such as the parliamentary budget officer — have published some analysis of the government's spending and given regular updates on the impacts of pandemic-related spending on the deficit.

With files from Kathleen Harris

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