Letters: How was surplus a surprise?

Wow, and just before an election. Who’d have thought?

Editor, The News:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced a ‘surprise’ budget surplus of $1.9 billion in the previous fiscal 2014.

Wow, and just before an election. Who’d have thought?

Ironically enough, this figure is close to the sum he cut from veteran’s affairs in 2014. That same year, almost 14 per cent of the money allocated to foreign affairs was returned unused.

Overall in 2014, $7.2 billion was returned unspent to the government.

It also withheld $1 billion from the military, resulting in degradation of training and vehicle maintenance or replacement.

Border service was also cut.

All this money returned to the government went to the assets account and counted as income.

Prior to this, the federal government held on to more than $10 billion it was expected to spend in 2012-13 – and still posted a deficit.

In fact, this year, $350 million has been returned unspent to the government from the immigration department, even with the looming Syrian refugee crisis.

Also withheld was $97 million from social services, money promised but never spent.

But to be reasonable, something must make up the revenue lost by his $90 billion tax break to profitable corporations.

And, of course, the current ‘surplus’ is based on the PMO examining only two months of economic figures.

The Parliamentary Budget Office and Bank of Canada, whose results he cannot fudge, disagree.

But my main question remains. Mr. Harper has a degree in economics and claims to be fiscally responsible (even though he’s added 24 per cent of all national debt since 1867).

So, how is it, conveniently right before an election, you suddenly ‘discover’ an almost $2 billion ‘surplus’ from the previous year?

F. Braun McAsh

Maple Ridge