Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rises during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Dec.12, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Canada’s robust credit rating should calm unease about federal deficits: Trudeau

Trudeau says Canada’s long-running triple-A rating means experts have confidence in his government’s approach to the economy

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recommends any Canadians worried about his government’s deficits to look at the country’s strong standing with international credit-rating agencies for reassurance.

Speaking to The Canadian Press in a wide-ranging interview, Trudeau says Canada’s triple-A rating with agencies like Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s should provide comfort to taxpayers who fear his government has been accumulating too much debt.

Trudeau says Canada’s long-running triple-A rating means experts have confidence in his government’s approach to the economy — even though many critics, and especially the Conservatives, warn Ottawa should be curbing deficit-spending in a stronger-than-expected economy.

Asked about the next inevitable downturn or recession, Trudeau argues his government’s moves to boost immigration and to make investments in areas like skills training, public transit and a lower-carbon economy have made Canada more resilient against future shocks.

The Trudeau Liberals were elected in 2015 on a pledge to run modest annual shortfalls of no more than $10 billion and to balance the books by 2019. Instead, they have posted yearly deficits almost double that size and no longer have a timetable to return to balance.

After taking office, the Trudeau government shifted its focus to keeping the government’s debt burden on a downward track — and Trudeau says Ottawa will stick to that benchmark in the future.

Read more: Fed report to show $19-billion deficit in 2017-18

Read more: Federal fall update expected to offer more support for struggling news industry

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