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Federal government posts third straight double-digit deficit with $14B shortfall

Last Updated Sep 17, 2019 at 12:30 pm EDT

The Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa is shown on Sunday, Aug. 2, 2015. A preliminary estimate of the federal books says the government ran a budgetary deficit of $500 million through the first three months of the current fiscal year, compared to a $4.3-billion surplus during the same period a year ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

OTTAWA — The federal government’s latest annual financial report shows it ran a $14-billion deficit in 2018-19 for its third consecutive double-digit shortfall.

The deficit for the fiscal year that ended March 31 was $900 million smaller than the government projected in last spring’s federal budget.

The report says revenues in 2018-19 expanded by $21 billion — or 6.7 per cent — compared to the previous year.

The revenue gain was partially offset by an increase of $14.6 billion — or 4.7 per cent — in program expenses and an expansion of $1.4-billion — or 6.3 per cent — in public debt charges.

The 2018-19 deficit follows two straight $19-billion shortfalls, and the annual financial numbers haven’t shown a surplus since 2006-07.

The state of federal finances has already been the subject of political debate during the ongoing election campaign as parties argue whether the government should make an effort to balance the federal books — and how quickly.

The Canadian Press