Mr. Speaker, I want to let members in on a little secret. The hon. member is quite fond of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, but he cannot say so publicly, otherwise he would be run out of his caucus.
I want to get the hon. member's comments on the paragraph with respect to fiscal sustainability in the Parliamentary Budget Officer's reported dated today. It states:
PBO’s debt-to-GDP projection indicates that the current federal and provincial-territorial fiscal structure is not sustainable over the long term given projected demographic and economic trends. PBO estimates that permanent and immediate fiscal actions – either through increased taxes or reduced program spending, or some combination of both – amounting to 2.7 per cent of GDP annually would be required to ensure that the net debt-to-GDP ratio does not ultimately rise above its current level.
In other words, in English, it is debt to the horizon for as long as can be projected unless something changes, either by raising the taxes, or reducing program spending, or some combination thereof.
Given that in the last sentence in his presentation he said that we were on track to be balanced by 2015, does he not think the PBO has it right, that this is debt to the horizon for the foreseeable future?