Budget 1999 - Building today for a better tomorrow
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February 1999


"The past year has been one of extraordinary economic uncertainty, a volatility that has demonstrated that no country today can shield itself fully from global turmoil. However, the past year has proven as well that the steps that Canada has taken to strengthen its finances and economy are paying off."

Finance Minister Paul Martin
1999 budget speech

A Consistent Strategy

The 1999 budget furthers the government's plan to build a strong economy and secure society. It is a strategy that continues action on three fronts:

All three elements of this plan work together to improve Canadians' standard of living and quality of life.

Seeing the Results

Like many countries, Canada has not been immune to economic pressures triggered by the Asian crisis, with some regions and sectors being hit hard. However, Canada still recorded a relatively strong economic performance in 1998 -- a success made possible by sound underlying economic and financial policies.

Job creation

Government finances

Interest rates

Economic prospects

Falling Debt Burden

The best way to measure a country's debt burden is in relation to the size of the economy (gross domestic product -- the GDP). The debt-to-GDP ratio measures what we owe as a country in relation to what we produce. The lower the ratio, the more manageable the debt.

This progress on debt reduction brings with it real bottom-line benefits. For example:

In other words, a falling debt burden is delivering new economic freedom for Canada -- by freeing up resources to strengthen health care, to provide needed tax relief, to fight child poverty, to improve the environment, and to invest in a more productive economy through access to knowledge, research and innovation.

The Debt Repayment Plan

The government is committed to keeping the debt-to-GDP ratio on a downward path. A key element of this strategy is the Debt Repayment Plan.

Investing in Canada

Taking care of the needs of Canadians does not end with taking care of the financial books. The 1999 budget continues to invest in key economic and social priorities, and to offer broad-based tax relief. These actions include:

Spending Control

Even with these new investments, program spending -- all spending except interest payments on the debt -- will continue to decline as a share of Canada's economy (GDP).

How can I get more information on the 1999 budget?

Information is available on the Internet at: http://www.fin.gc.ca/.

You can also obtain copies of this brochure or other budget documents from:

Distribution Centre
Department of Finance
300 Laurier Ave. West
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0G5
Tel.: (613) 995-2855
Fax: (613) 996-0518

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