Harper's ability to respond to the crisis has been undercut by his own government's record of tax cuts, which has emptied federal coffers, the parliamentary budget officer concluded in a report released yesterday.
Budget officer Kevin Page concluded the federal Conservatives are likely to run budget deficits "in the near term," possibly beginning this year, and that the fault lies as much with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty as it does with the weak economy. Page's report projects a budget deficit of $3.9 billion in 2009-10. But it adds that, if the economic downturn proves worse than expected, next year's federal deficit could hit $14 billion.
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