Transcript: How Will We Pay for Pandemic Relief? | May 05, 2020

Steve sits in a room with white walls, a low slanted ceiling and several framed pictures on the walls including one of George Drew and one of Walter Kronkite. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a white shirt and a black tie.

A caption on screen reads "How will we pay for pandemic relief?"

Steve says ACCORDING TO THE MOST RECENT ASSESSMENT BY THE PARLIAMENTARY BUDGET OFFICER, THIS YEAR'S FEDERAL DEFICIT - MEANING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHAT THE GOVERNMENT SPENDS AND TAKES IN, IN TAXES - IS ON TRACK TO BE MORE THAN 250 BILLION DOLLARS. AND TO THINK, JUST A FEW MONTHS BACK, A 25 BILLION DOLLAR DEFICIT SEEMED LIKE A LOT. WHERE WILL THE FEDS GET ALL THAT MONEY? WELL, LET'S ASK: IN AJAX, ONTARIO: THERE'S JANET ECKER, FORMER ONTARIO MINISTER OF FINANCE...

Janet is in her fifties, with short wavy blond hair. She's wearing glasses, a dark blue blazer and a patterned silk scarf.

Steve continues IN VANCOUVER, BC: JIM STANFORD, ECONOMIST AND DIRECTOR OF THE CENTRE FOR FUTURE WORK...

Jim is in his fifties, clean-shaven, with short white hair. He's wearing a black suit and a white shirt.

Steve continues AND IN TORONTO: CRAIG ALEXANDER, CHIEF ECONOMIST, DELOITTE CANADA.

Craig is in his fifties, clean-shaven and bald. He's wearing a black suit, blue shirt and striped tie.

Steve continues GOOD TO SEE THREE FAMILIAR FACES ON OUR AIR WAVES AND, JANET, I'LL PUT YOU TO WORK RIGHT AWAY, BECAUSE WHEN YOU WERE MINISTER OF FINANCE, AS MUCH AS YOU MAY NOT HAVE WANTED TO, YOU PROBABLY HAD TO RUN A DEFICIT EVERY NOW AND THEN AND YOU HAD TO GO FIND THAT MONEY. AND THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO GET TO NOW. IN CANADA, WE HAVE THE CANADIAN EMERGENCY RESPONSE BENEFIT, WE HAVE A BENEFIT FOR POSTSECONDARY STUDENTS, WE HAVE RENT RELIEF FOR SMALL BUSINESSES, THE LIST OF PROGRAMS IS GOING ON AND ON, AND AS I SUGGESTED IN THE INTRO, WE ARE WELL NORTH OF 200 BILLION DOLLARS IN NEW SPENDING NOW. WHERE DOES A GOVERNMENT GO TO GET ALL THAT MONEY?

The caption changes to "Janet Ecker. Former Ontario Minister of Finance."

Janet says WELL, THERE ARE NO OTHER SOURCES, STEVE, UNFORTUNATELY. ONE COLUMNIST WAS SAYING HOW HE WANTED TO CURL UP IN A FETAL POSITION WHEN HE READ THE PARLIAMENTARY BUDGET REPORT. I CAN UNDERSTAND THAT. IT'S EITHER MORE TAXES, LESS SPENDING, OR MORE BORROWING. YOU KNOW, THERE'S NO EASY WAY OUT OF THIS. AND UNFORTUNATELY THERE WILL BE A PRICE TO PAY WHATEVER OPTIONS THE GOVERNMENTS FEDERALLY AND THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENTS CHOOSE TO TRY AND GET US BACK TO SOME... SOME SEMBLANCE OF BALANCE OVER THE NEXT YEARS, GENERATIONS MAYBE. EVERY ONE OF THEM COMES WITH A PRICE. MORE TAXES, LESS SPENDING, MORE BORROWING... THEY ALL HAVE A BIG PRICE TO PAY, SO THERE IS NO EASY OR SHORT PATH OUT OF THE CURRENT SITUATION THAT WE ALL FIND OURSELVES IN.

Steve says CRAIG, LET ME FOCUS ON ONE OF THOSE OPTIONS WITH YOU: BORROWING. IF THE GOVERNMENT HAS TO, LET'S SAY, BORROW THAT 200 BILLION DOLLARS IN ORDER TO FUND THOSE NEW PROGRAMS, WHERE DO THEY BORROW THE MONEY FROM?

The caption changes to "Craig Alexander. Deloitte Canada."

Craig says SO THEY WILL BORROW THE MONEY IN GLOBAL FINANCIAL MARKETS. YOU KNOW, THEY'LL ISSUE GOVERNMENT DEBT. THAT DEBT WILL BE BOUGHT IN PART BY DOMESTIC INVESTORS. IT COULD BE THINGS LIKE CANADIAN PENSION FUNDS, WHICH ARE, YOU KNOW, BIG, BIG CAPITAL VEHICLES IN CANADA. BUT IT ALSO COULD BE BORROWED BY INTERNATIONAL INVESTORS. THEY'RE LOOKING TO INVEST IN SAFE GOVERNMENT BONDS IN TODAY'S WORLD. THE REALLY IMPORTANT THING TO HIGHLIGHT IS, WHILE THERE WILL BE A FISCAL COST LIKE, YOU KNOW, I DON'T DISAGREE, ULTIMATELY WE COULD SEE HIGHER TAXES AND GOVERNMENTS NEEDING TO REBALANCE AND REDUCE THE DEFICIT DOWN THE ROAD. IN THE NEAR TERM, THEY'RE NOT GOING TO BE DOING THAT. WE'RE STILL IN THE MIDST OF A VERY DEEP RECESSION, THE EARLY STAGES OF THE DEEP RECESSION. IN THE NEAR TERM, THEY'RE GOING TO GET THE MONEY BY BASICALLY BORROWING THE FUNDS.

Steve says HMM. OKAY. WE HAVE OFTEN HEARD... I'LL DO A QUICK FOLLOW-UP WITH YOU ON THIS, CRAIG, WE'VE OFTEN HEARD DOUG FORD SAYING DON'T LOOK TO ME FOR THE BIG... I DON'T HAVE A PRINTING PRESS IN QUEEN'S PARK. THAT'S TRUE. THE QUESTION IS DOES JUSTIN TRUDEAU HAVE ONE? IS HE GOING TO PAY FOR THE PROGRAMS BY SIMPLY PRINTING MORE CANADIAN DOLLARS?

Craig says I THINK THERE ARE TWO IMPORTANT POINTS HERE. THE FIRST ONE IS IT IS INCREDIBLY CHEAP TO BORROW RIGHT NOW. THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CAN BORROW BY ISSUING A 30-YEAR BOND OFFERING INTEREST OF 1.2 percent. AND SO THE COST OF BORROWING RIGHT NOW IS ENORMOUSLY CHEAP, AND THIS IS ACTUALLY CRITICAL FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, FOR THE PROVINCES, AND FOR THE GLOBAL ECONOMY WHEN WE LOOK AT OTHER GOVERNMENTS. THE SECOND POINT IS THAT CANADA ACTUALLY WAS IN A GOOD FISCAL POSITION BEFORE THIS CRISIS HIT. LIKE, IF WE LOOK AT THE SHARE OF DEBT COMPARED TO THE SIZE OF THE ECONOMY, THE DEBT-TO-GDP RATIO WAS AROUND 31 percent, WHICH IS ACTUALLY QUITE LOW AND VERY LOW RELATIVE TO OTHER COUNTRIES. AND SO THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT'S DEBT-TO-GDP RATIO MAY JUMP, IT WILL SURGE IN RESPONSE TO THE ECONOMIC CONTRACTION AND ALL OF THE BORROWING THAT'S GOING TO TAKE PLACE. BUT THE RATIO OF DEBT TO GDP IS ONLY GOING TO GO UP ON THE BASIS OF THE PROGRAMS ANNOUNCED SO FAR TO AROUND 48 percent. AND IF WE THINK BACK TO, YOU KNOW, WHERE DO COUNTRIES GET INTO TROUBLE? WHEN WE HAD A CRISIS IN THE MID '90s, THE RATIO WAS AROUND 67 percent, AND THE RATE OF INTEREST... AND THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT... THE RATE OF INTEREST WAS AROUND 9 percent. SO, YOU KNOW, THE BOTTOM LINE IS... I GET ASKED BY A LOT OF BUSINESSES AND CANADIANS, YOU KNOW, CAN WE AFFORD THESE PROGRAMS? AND THE ANSWER IS, YES, WE CAN. AND, ALTHOUGH THE PARLIAMENTARY BUDGET OFFICER GAVE US THE 252 BILLION DOLLAR ESTIMATED DEFICIT, THAT'S ONLY ON THE PROGRAMS ANNOUNCED SO FAR. I THINK WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A LOT MORE PROGRAMS BEING LAUNCHED IN TERMS OF STIMULATING THE ECONOMY AND HELPING TO DRIVE ECONOMIC GROWTH. SO WE'RE NOT... WE HAVEN'T GOT THE FULL PRICE TAG YET. BUT THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT CANADA HAS RUN VERY SOUND FISCAL BALANCES FOR MANY YEARS, THE LAST COUPLE OF DECADES, AND WE'RE NOW LIVING ON THAT FISCAL DIVIDEND.

Janet says STEVE, AN EXAMPLE OF THE SORT OF ROLLING OVER DEBT THAT CRAIG'S TALKING ABOUT IS BRITAIN WAS STILL PAYING OFF NAPOLEONIC WAR DEBT FROM THE 1700s IN THE 20TH CENTURY.

Craig says I SAW THAT.

Janet says YEAH. WHICH WAS AN INTERESTING STATISTIC. WITH INTEREST RATES LOW, I KNOW THE BORROWING AUTHORITY HERE IN ONTARIO HAS BEEN BUSILY ROLLING OVER LONG-TERM DEBT FOR PRECISELY THAT REASON.

Steve says OKAY. JIM, LET ME GET YOU INTO THIS CONVERSATION HERE. I PRESUME YOU ARE ON SIDE WITH WHAT CRAIG JUST SAID INASMUCH AS INTEREST RATES HAVE NEVER BEEN... ALMOST NEVER BEEN SO LOW AND THEREFORE, IF YOU'VE GOT TO BORROW, NOW IS A GOOD TIME TO DO IT. DO YOU GET AT ALL CONCERNED ABOUT DEBT AS A PROPORTION OF THE SIZE OF THE ECONOMY GIVEN THAT IT MAY ACTUALLY DOUBLE BY THE TIME WE'RE DONE WITH ALL THIS?

The caption changes to "Jim Stanford. Centre for Future Work."

Jim says YOU KNOW, STEVE, THERE'S A LOT OF THINGS TO WORRY ABOUT IN TODAY'S WORLD, AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DEBT IS NOT ONE OF THEM, OKAY? SO IF YOU'RE GOING TO LOSE SLEEP TONIGHT, LOSE IT ABOUT YOUR RELATIVES, YOUR LOVED ONES, FLATTENING THE CURVE, YOU KNOW, EVEN YOUR JOB AND HOW ARE YOU GOING TO GET BACK TO WORK. DON'T WORRY ABOUT THE DEBT. IT'S MORE THAN WHAT CRAIG SAID. IT'S NOT JUST THAT IT'S CHEAP TO BORROW, IT'S FREE TO BORROW. THE 30-YEAR BOND AT 1.2 percent AND SOME OF THE YIELDS ON OTHER LONG-RUN BONDS ARE LOWER. THAT'S BELOW THE RATE OF INFLATION. THAT MEANS WE'RE PAYING BACK LESS REAL VALUE THAN WE'RE ACTUALLY BORROWING. AND THAT'S NOT AN ACCIDENT. IT WAS DELIBERATE. IT WAS DELIBERATE POLICY TO DRIVE THE INTEREST RATE DOWN AND KEEP IT CLOSE TO ZERO. THE THING THAT JANET AND CRAIG HAVEN'T MENTIONED YET, MOST OF THAT FEDERAL DEBT THAT IS GOING TO BE ISSUED THIS YEAR IS GOING TO BE PURCHASED BY OUR OWN BANK, BY THE BANK OF CANADA. THEY HAVE FINALLY GOTTEN ON BOARD WITH THE QUANTITATIVE EASING STRATEGY. THEY WERE SLOW TO THAT PARTY, IF YOU LIKE. OTHER CENTRAL BANKS HAVE BEEN DOING IT FOR A LONG TIME. NOW THE BANK OF CANADA IS DOING IT. THEY'RE BUYING 5 BILLION DOLLARS OF GOVERNMENT DEBT A WEEK. DO THE MATH. THAT'S 250 BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR. THERE'S YOUR FEDERAL DEFICIT RIGHT THERE. PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENTS DO NOT HAVE THEIR OWN CENTRAL BANK. IT'S NOT A PRINTING PRESS BUT IT'S A CENTRAL BANK. THEY'RE GOING TO BE DEPENDENT ON THE USE OF THESE FEDERAL POWERS TO KEEP INTEREST RATES CLOSE TO ZERO AND TO FACILITATE THE BORROWING. I DON'T THINK WE'LL EVER PAY BACK THAT DEBT. I THINK WE'LL JUST KEEP IT AND ROLL IT OVER FOREVER, BUT WE'LL PUT THE ECONOMY BACK TO WORK AND WE'LL GROW THE ECONOMY SO THAT THE DEBT DOESN'T MATTER. IT DOESN'T MATTER WHEN THE INTEREST RATE IS ZERO ANYWAY. AND IT'S GOT NOTHING, FRANKLY, TO DO WITH WHAT OUR SO-CALLED FISCAL MANAGEMENT WAS BEFORE. THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS NO LIMIT ON ITS ABILITY TO DO THIS, AND TO SEE THAT... JUST LOOK AT JAPAN. JAPAN TODAY HAS A DEBT-TO-GDP RATIO OF 250 percent. SO ACCORDING TO CRAIG'S ARGUMENT, JAPAN SHOULD BE IN CHAOS. BUT THEY AREN'T. AND THEY'RE DOING EXACTLY WHAT WE'RE DOING IN CANADA, WHICH IS FINANCING ESSENTIAL NEW SAVINGS... OR, SORRY, SPENDING, BY USING THE CENTRAL BANK TO FINANCE THIS GOVERNMENT DEBT. SO IT IS NOT A PROBLEM. IT'S ONLY A PROBLEM FOR THOSE WHO STILL FOLLOW A KIND OF OLD KITCHEN TABLE ECONOMICS, WE MUST BALANCE THE BUDGET MOTTO, AND MOST PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD HAVE ABANDONED THAT IDEA, AND RIGHTLY SO.

Steve says WELL, LET ME FOLLOW UP WITH JANET ECKER ON THAT. AS YOU POINT OUT, IT TOOK 200 YEARS FOR BRITAIN TO PAY OFF THE NAPOLEONIC DEBTS THAT WERE INCURRED WAY BACK WHEN. BUT THAT DOES FLY IN THE FACE OF EVERYTHING WE WERE SORT OF TAUGHT AS KIDS, WHICH IS, IF YOU'RE GOING TO BORROW MONEY, YOU BETTER PAY IT BACK AND YOU REALLY SHOULD PAY IT BACK AS SOON AS YOU'RE ABLE TO PAY IT BACK. IF YOU'RE SITTING IN THOSE CABINET TABLES, AT THOSE CABINET TABLES, DO YOU REALLY NOT CONCERN YOURSELF WITH EVER PAYING THIS MONEY BACK? WE JUST BORROW AND TO HELL WITH IT?

Janet says WELL, THAT'S HOW WE GOT INTO THE MESS IN THE MID '90s IN CANADA WHEN CRAIG MENTIONED 66 percent, WE WERE IN SERIOUS TROUBLE AS A COUNTRY. YOU KNOW, WE WERE THE ARGENTINA OF THE NORTH AT THE TIME. YOU KNOW, WE WERE IN TROUBLE. I MEAN, THERE ARE LIMITS AROUND WHAT A GOVERNMENT CAN DO. LISTEN, WANTING DEBT IN CIRCUMSTANCES LIKE THIS, I MEAN, THAT'S WHY YOU WANT FINANCIAL FLEXIBILITY. THAT'S WHY BALANCED BUDGETS DO MATTER, SO YOU'VE GOT THE ROOM TO MOVE IN TO HELP SAVE WHATEVER... LIKE IN THE CURRENT CRISIS, TO HELP MEDIATE THAT... THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES. BUT THE CHALLENGE WE HAVE... WILL HAVE, WHEN THIS IS OVER, IS LESS FLEXIBILITY TO MANAGE. I MEAN, THIS ISN'T GOING TO BE THE ONLY BLACK SWAN EVENT THAT WE GET HIT WITH. SOMETHING ELSE IS GOING TO HAPPEN. THE OTHER PROBLEM WHEN PEOPLE SAY, OH, WELL, WE'LL GROW OUR WAY OUT OF IT. WELL, TAKE A LOOK AT THE POTENTIAL GROWTH FOR THE ECONOMY RIGHT NOW IN CANADA. WE'VE GOT WHOLE PORTIONS OF OUR ECONOMY OUT THERE, SMALL BUSINESS, MEDIUM BUSINESSES IN DIFFERENT SECTORS THAT ARE LITERALLY DEVASTATED. WE'VE GOT AN ENERGY SECTOR THAT HAS ALSO BEEN SIGNIFICANTLY SERIOUSLY, SERIOUSLY DAMAGED. WE'VE GOT AN AGING POPULATION. WE'VE GOT TRADE PROTECTIONISM STARTING TO MOVE IN AROUND THE WORLD, AND OF COURSE FOR CANADA, FOR ONTARIO, TRADE IS ONE OF... IS BREAD AND BUTTER. WE'VE GOT A RATHER CRANKY, UNPREDICTABLE NEIGHBOUR TO THE SOUTH. SO THE PROSPECTS FOR, YOU KNOW, RAPID GROWTH OR EVEN SUBSTANTIAL GROWTH TO HELP US GET OUT OF THIS, THAT'S PRETTY HIGH-RISK TOO RIGHT NOW.

Steve says WELL, CRAIG, HAVING SAID THAT, LET ME PUT THIS TO YOU. YOU KNOW, I'VE SPOKEN TO LOTS OF YOUNG PEOPLE IN THEIR 20s AND 30s DURING THE COURSE OF THIS PANDEMIC WHO WONDER WHETHER OR NOT ALL OF THE DEBT THAT WE'RE INCURRING RIGHT NOW, TO PROTECT, LET'S FACE IT, MOSTLY OLDER PEOPLE RIGHT NOW FROM THE JOBS THAT THEY HAVE LOST OR THE RENT THAT THEY CAN'T PAY OR WHATEVER, AND THEY ARE WONDERING WHETHER OR NOT ALL OF THIS DEBT IS GOING TO EQUAL MASSIVE TAX INCREASES FOR THEM IF AND WHEN THIS ECONOMY GETS BACK GOING AND THEY GET JOBS AND THEY START PAYING TAXES. WHAT CAN YOU TELL THEM?

Craig says TELL THEM NOT TO WORRY. I THINK THAT THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA CAN AFFORD TO DO THIS STIMULUS, AND WE ARE IN THE WORST RECESSION SINCE THE GREAT DEPRESSION. THIS IS GOING TO BE TWO TO THREE TIMES WORSE THAN WHAT WE HAD IN 2008-2009 THAT WE REFERRED TO AS THE GREAT RECESSION. GOVERNMENTS DEPLOYED ENORMOUS STIMULUS DURING THAT PERIOD, AND IT HELPED TO STABILIZE THE ECONOMY AND HELP TO DRIVE AN ECONOMIC RECOVERY, SO THIS IS ACTUALLY THE RECIPE FOR HOW YOU CREATE JOBS DOWN THE ROAD THAT YOUNG PEOPLE WILL BENEFIT FROM. NOW, I DON'T AGREE WITH JIM THAT WE SHOULD JUST CONSIDER... THAT ALL THE GOVERNMENT FINANCING AND BORROWING DOESN'T MATTER. I DON'T THINK THAT IT'S A GOOD ENVIRONMENT WHEN THE BANK OF CANADA IS BUYING UP LARGE PORTIONS OF GOVERNMENT DEBT, AND CANADA DOES HAVE TO BORROW INTERNATIONALLY. AND ONE OF THE THINGS WE SAW IN 2010 TO 2013 IN EUROPE WAS A FISCAL CRISIS AS INVESTORS WORRIED THAT GOVERNMENTS COULDN'T PAY WHAT WAS DUE. SO I DO THINK THAT GOVERNMENTS, WHEN WE GET TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE CRISIS... NOW, WE'RE NOT TALKING IN 2020 OR 2021. BUT WHEN WE GET TO THE STAGE WHERE THE ECONOMY HAS RECOVERED AND GROWTH IS PROCEEDING, AT THAT POINT THE GOVERNMENT IS GOING TO WANT TO LOOK AT HOW TO REBALANCE ITS FINANCES, LIKE EVERY GOVERNMENT IN THE PAST HAS. AND WHAT THEY'RE LIKELY TO DO IS LOOK AT SOME MIX OF BETWEEN, YOU KNOW, ALLOWING THE GROWTH OF THE ECONOMY TO [indiscernible] THAT WILL LEAD TO IMPROVING FISCAL BALANCES [indiscernible] SURPRISED IF DOWN THE ROAD WE DO SEE HIGHER [indiscernible] I SUSPECT WE WILL NEED TO CREATE SOME ADDITIONAL REVENUES TO HELP PAY THE BILLS, BUT I DON'T THINK YOUNG PEOPLE SHOULD WORRY GREATLY ABOUT THAT AT THE MOMENT. IN POINT OF FACT, WHAT THE GOVERNMENTS ARE DOING IS EXACTLY WHAT'S NEEDED TO CREATE JOBS IN THE FUTURE, WHICH THEY WILL BENEFIT FROM.

Steve says JIM, I SHOULD GIVE YOU A CHANCE TO RESPOND TO THAT, IF YOU WANT TO?

Jim says SURE. I MEAN, I'M NOT BLAMING YOUNG PEOPLE FOR WORRYING ABOUT THIS. YOU KNOW, THEY'VE KIND OF GOT THE SHORT END OF THE STICK A NUMBER OF WAYS IN RECENT YEARS, SO THEY'RE THE ONES WHO FACED THE PRECARIOUS JOB MARKET. THEY'RE THE ONES WHO FACE GLOBAL WARMING. THEY'VE SEEN, YOU KNOW, CUTBACKS IN DIFFERENT PROGRAMS. BUT THERE'S NO AUTOMATIC REASON THEY SHOULD EXPECT THAT AUSTERITY TO HIT THEM IN THE FUTURE. WHAT THEY SHOULD WORRY ABOUT IS A LOT OF OLD FARTS RUNNING THE COUNTRY SAYING NOW IS THE TIME FOR TOUGH MEDICINE. THAT SHOULD CAUSE PROBLEMS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE. IT'S NOT AN AUTOMATIC MECHANISM. THAT WOULD BE ALL ABOUT POLITICS. YES, EUROPEAN COUNTRIES DID HAVE DEBT CRISES AFTER THE RECESSION. OTHER COUNTRIES LIKE BRITAIN, JAPAN, AND AMERICA, WHICH HAD AS BIG OR BIGGER DEBT LOADS DID NOT SUFFER A CRISIS AND, AGAIN, EVEN THOSE PROBLEMS WERE SELF-INFLICTED BECAUSE OF THE EUROPEAN UNION'S KIND OF OUTDATED BALANCED BUDGET MANTRA THAT THEY WERE FOLLOWING. SO THE WORST THING WE COULD DO IS RESPOND TO THIS DOWNTURN AND THE RESULTED GOVERNMENT DEBTS BY CUTTING SPENDING. THE SECOND WORST THING WE COULD DO IS RESPOND TO IT BY INCREASING TAXES. THE ABSOLUTE FOCUS SHOULD BE ON PUTTING CANADIANS BACK TO WORK, GETTING THE ECONOMY GOING AGAIN, WHEN IT'S SAFE TO DO SO. MUCH OF THE GOVERNMENT SPENDING THAT HAS BEEN RAMPED UP THIS YEAR IS AUTOMATICALLY GOING TO DISAPPEAR, THINGS LIKE THE WAGE SUBSIDY, OF COURSE, WHICH WERE EXTRAORDINARY, EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE, BUT INHERENTLY TEMPORARY MEASURES SO MUCH OF THAT SPENDING IS GOING TO COME OFF. WE'RE NOT GOING TO BE RUNNING 250 BILLION DOLLAR DEFICITS REGULARLY. THEN THE CRUCIAL THING IS PUTTING PEOPLE BACK TO WORK, GENERATING INCOME, PAYING TAXES, AND THAT'S WHAT THE FOCUS OF OUR GOVERNMENT RESPONSE SHOULD BE.

Steve says AND I TAKE IT "OLD FART" IS A TECHNICAL TERM FROM THE STUDY OF DEMOGRAPHICS...

Jim says IT'S A TECHNICAL TERM. I WASN'T REFERRING TO JANET AND HER FORMER COLLEAGUES IN THE ONTARIO CABINET. THERE YOU GO.

Steve says A RELIEF TO KNOW THAT. LET ME READ SOMETHING THAT THE GLOBE AND MAIL EDITORIALIZED ABOUT A WEEK OR SO AGO. IT GOES LIKE THIS...

A quote appears on screen, under the title "Paying for pandemic relief." The quote reads "You may be asking, 'How will we ever pay off all of that debt?'
The answer: We won't. If all goes according to plan, Ottawa will not pay down the national debt. Not by a cent. Ever.
Instead, the country's long-term fiscal game plan is likely to look like the one that financed the Second World War.
In the 30 years after the war, Canada did not pay off the national debt. It even added to it.
Yet the weight of that debt steadily fell. By 1976, the net debt-to-GDP ratio had dropped from more than 100 per cent of GDP to a fifth of that. The debt went from being bigger than the economy to the economy being five times its size."
Quoted from the Editorial Board, The Globe and Mail. April 27, 2020.

Steve says JANET, IS THIS TO SAY THAT APROPOS OF YOUR NAPOLEONIC EXAMPLE OF EARLIER, WE CAN GROW OUR WAY OUT OF THIS DEBT; IS THAT RIGHT?

Janet says WELL, THE CHALLENGE IS, IS HOW MUCH AND HOW FAST WILL GROWTH BE THERE? WE'RE LOOKING AT... IN THAT SAME COLUMN, IF I'M RECALLING IT CORRECTLY, ALSO TALKED ABOUT THE REASON WE WERE ABLE TO GET OUT OF SOME OF THIS DEBT WAY BACK WHEN WAS BECAUSE WE HAD GOOD, STRONG GROWTH, YOU KNOW, 5 percent A YEAR AND THAT KIND OF THING. I THINK WE ALL THINK WE'D DIED AND GONE TO HEAVEN IF WE HAD OVER 5 percent GROWTH NOW. AS I SAID, THE CHALLENGES THE ECONOMY IS FACING, YOU KNOW, WITH THE POTENTIAL TRADE RESTRICTIONS WITH... YOU KNOW, THE U.S. ECONOMY MAYBE GOING TO BE STRUGGLING, DEVASTATED INDUSTRIES, YOU LIST ALL OF THE THINGS THAT WE'RE FACING, I THINK SAYING, OH, WELL, WE'LL JUST GROW OUR WAY OUT OF IT, THAT'S A VERY RISKY STRATEGY. THERE ARE NO EASY ANSWERS HERE. THE OTHER ISSUE ON THE TAXATION SIDE, FRANKLY I THINK TAX RATES, PERSONAL TAX RATES IN CANADA RIGHT NOW ARE PRETTY HIGH NOW, AND WHAT YOU START TO SEE WHEN YOU KEEP RAISING THEM, AS HAS HAPPENED IN MANY COUNTRIES OVER MANY YEARS, YOU START TO GET SORT OF DIMINISHING RETURNS. YOU KNOW, THERE JUST ISN'T AS MUCH MONEY AS YOU THINK YOU'RE GOING TO GET WHEN YOU GET OVER THAT 50 percent LEVEL. SO THERE'S NOT A LOT OF ROOM ON THAT PERSONAL DEBT SIDE. SOME SAY, WELL, RAISE THE G.S.T., BUT THERE'S AN ECONOMIC PRICE TO THAT AS WELL. IT'S A REAL CHALLENGE. I THINK IT'S GOING TO TAKE A BALANCE OF STRATEGIES FROM GOVERNMENTS. IT'S GOING TO TAKE, YOU KNOW, ALL OF THE BUSINESSES OUT THERE THAT WERE WORKING SO HARD TO TRY AND SAVE, CANADIAN BUSINESSES ARE GOING TO HAVE TO BE LOOKING AT, HOW CAN THEY BE AS EFFICIENT AND PRODUCTIVE, YOU KNOW, AS THEY CAN BE. IT'S GOING TO BE AN ALL HANDS ON DECK EXERCISE, I THINK.

Jim says STEVE, IF I COULD JUMP IN ON THAT WORLD WAR II ANALOGY WHICH I THINK IS VERY FITTING. THERE'S ANOTHER LESSON TO BE LEARNED FROM THAT EXPERIENCE AS WELL. WHEN WE CAME BACK FROM THAT WAR... IN A WAY WE'RE FIGHTING A WAR NOW, A WAR AGAINST A TERRIBLE DISEASE. WHEN WE CAME BACK FROM THAT WAR, WE DIDN'T START TIGHTENING BELTS, WE PUT PEOPLE BACK TO WORK, INCLUDING THE RETURNING SOLDIERS, AND THAT INVOLVED A MULTIPLE DECADES-LONG PROGRAM OF ECONOMIC EXPANSION, JOB CREATION, BUILDING NEW INDUSTRIES IN CANADA AND GROWING THE ECONOMY. SO THAT GROWTH WASN'T NATURAL AND IT WASN'T AN ACCIDENT, IT WAS A DELIBERATE STRATEGY. AND, YES, JANET'S RIGHT, THERE ARE SOME BARRIERS TO GROWTH NOW. BUT THERE'S LOTS OF THINGS THAT WE COULD DO ABOUT IT. AND I THINK WE NEED TO VIEW THE PERIOD AFTER THE PANDEMIC MUCH LIKE A POST-WAR REBUILDING EXERCISE. WE NEED SOMETHING LIKE A MARSHALL PLAN, WHERE THE GOVERNMENT MOBILIZES HUGE RESOURCES IN INFRASTRUCTURE AND PUBLIC SERVICES AND EXPANDING PUBLIC WORKS IN PUTTING PEOPLE DIRECTLY ON THE GOVERNMENT PAYROLL, AS WELL AS STIMULATING PRIVATE RECOVERY. IF WE MAKE IT HAPPEN, WE CAN ABSOLUTELY GET BACK TO A SITUATION WHERE WE'RE CLOSE TO FULL EMPLOYMENT IN CANADA, AND THAT WOULD BE THE CRUCIAL ENGINE FOR MANAGING THE DEBT, AMONG ALL THE OTHER PROBLEMS THAT WE'RE GOING TO FACE.

Steve says CRAIG, LET ME DO A QUICK FOLLOW-UP WITH YOU ON THE ISSUE OF TAXATION. YOU HEARD JANET ECKER SAY ONCE YOU GET OVER 50 percent FOR PERSONAL INCOME TAXES, IT DOES BECOME A BIT OF A LAW OF DIMINISHING RETURNS THERE. I EVEN REMEMBER NDP LEADER, FORMER NDP LEADER THOMAS MULCAIR SAYING ONCE YOU GET OVER 50 percent PERSONAL INCOME TAX RATES, IT SOUNDS A BIT CONFISCATORY. AND THAT'S A SOCIAL DEMOCRAT SAYING THAT. DO YOU THINK WHATEVER TAX MEASURES COME FORWARD, THAT GOVERNMENTS HAVE TO BE SUPER CAREFUL ABOUT RAISING THEM TOO HIGH LEST PEOPLE STOP PAYING THEM AND IT DOES BECOME A LAW OF DIMINISHING RETURNS?

Craig says AS TAX RATES RISE, THERE STARTS TO BE DIMINISHING RETURNS. IT CAN ACTUALLY [indiscernible] BEHAVIOUR. WHEN SOMEBODY IS EARNING LESS THAN 50 CENTS ON THE DOLLAR BECAUSE OF THEIR TAX RATES, IT CAN LEAD THEM TO CHANGE THEIR DECISIONS. SO, FOR EXAMPLE, THEY COULD DECIDE [indiscernible] LESS BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT BENEFITING AS MUCH. I ALSO THINK THAT WHEN WE THINK ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE COMING OUT OF THE POST-COVID ENVIRONMENT, I THINK ONE OF THE KEY THINGS HERE IS WE'RE GOING TO HAVE MORE INDEBTED HOUSEHOLDS, MORE INDEBTED BUSINESSES, AND DRAMATICALLY MORE INDEBTED GOVERNMENTS. AND SO THE ISSUE AROUND DEBT AND LEVERAGE IS GOING TO BE A HUGE ISSUE. LIKE, BEFORE THE PANDEMIC [indiscernible] ECONOMY WAS THE AMOUNT OF PERSONAL DEBT. DURING THE PANDEMIC, ONE OF THE KEY RECOMMENDATIONS TO KEEP BUSINESSES AFLOAT IS FOR BUSINESSES TO BORROW AT LOW, IF NOT ZERO INTEREST RATES. SO WHEN WE GET TO THE OTHER SIDE, THEY'RE GOING TO BE CARRYING MORE DEBT. AND IN THIS CALL, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THE ISSUE OF, YOU KNOW, HOW ARE GOVERNMENTS GOING TO DEAL WITH THEIR DEBTS? THIS IS GOING TO BE A VERY PROFOUND ISSUE. AND I THINK WHEN GOVERNMENTS ARE THINKING ABOUT HOW THEY SET THEIR TAXES, THEY'RE ALSO GOING TO HAVE TO THINK ABOUT ISSUES RELATED TO HOW INDEBTED HOUSEHOLDS ARE AND HOW INDEBTED BUSINESSES ARE. I AGREE WITH JIM THAT ONE OF THE KEY ELEMENTS OF THE FUTURE IS, HOW DO WE DRIVE STRONGER ECONOMIC GROWTH? THE REALITY IS, IN THE 1950s, 1960s, THE TREND RATE OF GROWTH IN THE CANADIAN ECONOMY WAS AROUND 5 percent, AND AT THE MOMENT, YOU KNOW, BEFORE THE PANDEMIC, WE ACTUALLY THOUGHT THE SUSTAINABLE LONG-TERM RATE IN THE CANADIAN ECONOMY WAS ONLY 1.7 percent. AND SO THE QUESTION IS, YOU KNOW, IF WE WANT TO REDUCE THE DEBT BURDEN, RIGHT, WITHOUT RAISING TAXES OR GROSSLY CUTTING EXPENDITURE, WE HAVE TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO DRIVE ECONOMIC GROWTH, AND THIS IS SOMETHING THAT WE'VE HAD MANY AGENDA SHOWS ON. HOW DO WE IMPROVE PRODUCTIVITY? HOW DO WE IMPROVE COMPETITIVENESS? HOW DO WE REMOVE BARRIERS FACING INDIVIDUALS AND GOVERNMENT? HOW DO WE UNLOCK THE POTENTIAL OF OUR PEOPLE AND OUR BUSINESSES? AND I THINK THAT NARRATIVE BECOMES PARAMOUNT AS WE GET TO THE POST LOCKDOWN ENVIRONMENT. WE'RE GOING TO LOSE A LOT OF SMALL BUSINESSES HERE, AND WE'RE GOING TO NEED POLICIES AIMED AT ACCELERATING THE NUMBER OF STARTUPS, RIGHT? WE'RE GOING TO NEED POLICIES THAT ARE REALLY FOCUSED ON DRIVING ECONOMIC GROWTH AND THEY REALLY ARE GOING TO NEED TO BE THE CORE PRIORITY IF WE WANT TO ALLEVIATE THE IMPACT ON THE LABOUR MARKET FROM HIGHER UNEMPLOYMENT AND WE ALSO WANT TO ADDRESS THE ISSUE OF THE LEVERAGE THAT'S BEEN ACCUMULATED.

Steve says LET ME TAKE THAT ANSWER YOU JUST GAVE AND LET ME TAKE AN ANSWER THAT I GOT TO A DIFFERENT QUESTION ON A DIFFERENT PROGRAM A FEW DAYS AGO, NAMELY, THAT GOING FORWARD, IT MAY VERY WELL BE THE CASE THAT WHATEVER GOVERNMENT IS IN POWER IS GOING TO HAVE TO PURCHASE PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT FOR EVERY BUSINESS IN THE COUNTRY THAT DEALS WITH PEOPLE, PARTICULARLY RETAILERS, FOR EXAMPLE, AND PUT THIS QUESTION TO A FORMER PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE CABINET MINISTER IN JANET ECKER: IS THIS A TOUGH TIME TO BE A CONSERVATIVE? IT SOUNDS LIKE WHATEVER PATH WE TAKE GOING FORWARD IS GOING TO REQUIRE THE KINDS OF GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION THAT MAYBE EVEN SOCIAL DEMOCRATS DIDN'T COUNT ON IN CANADA BECAUSE EVERY SCENARIO I'M HEARING INVOLVES A GREAT DEAL MORE GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION ACROSS THE BOARD IN MANY AREAS THAT WE HADN'T ANTICIPATED. WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Janet says WELL, THIS IS A TOUGH TIME TO BE A POLITICIAN OF WHATEVER POLITICAL STRIPE BECAUSE, AGAIN, WE'RE IN UNPRECEDENTED TIMES, AND IT'S GOING TO TAKE A RANGE OF STRATEGIES I THINK TO GET US BACK INTO SOME LEVEL OF ECONOMIC GROWTH, STABLE SOCIETY, PROSPERITY... WHATEVER WE WANT TO CALL IT. THERE'S NO QUESTION THAT GOVERNMENT HAS A ROLE, STEVE, AND, LISTEN, THE CONSERVATIVES I KNOW ARE NEVER... NEVER SAY, OH, WELL, GOVERNMENT DOESN'T. OF COURSE GOVERNMENT HAS A ROLE. THE IMPORTANT POINT IS, WHAT IS IT, HOW DO YOU DO IT, WHAT'S THE OUTCOME, ARE YOU GOING TO BE EFFICIENT AT DOING WHATEVER THE STRATEGY IS THAT YOU'RE TRYING TO DO? THIS ARGUMENT THAT SOMEHOW OR OTHER IT'S ALL, YOU KNOW, UP TO GOVERNMENT... WELL, I GOTTA TELL YOU, THERE'S A FEDERAL AND PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENTS ACROSS THIS COUNTRY ARE GOING TO BE STANDING IN FRONT OF INQUIRIES OF SOME KIND AT SOME POINT ANSWERING ABOUT HOW WELL DID WE DO. AND WHILE THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF GREAT WORK BY A LOT OF PEOPLE, YOU CAN ALSO POINT A LOT OF BLAME AT A LOT OF PEOPLE WHERE GOVERNMENT MISSED THE BOAT. AND SO THAT IS ONE OF THE CHALLENGES. GOVERNMENT IS NOT A PAINLESS OPTION. IT'S A BLUNT INSTRUMENT. THERE ARE ALWAYS UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES WHEN A GOVERNMENT TRIES TO SOLVE A PROBLEM. SO IT'S NOT EITHER/OR, IT'S A BLENDED APPROACH OF HOW DO WE... BECAUSE GOVERNMENT CAN'T MAKE THE ECONOMY GROW WITHOUT BUSINESSES BEING ABLE TO SUCCEED. I THINK CRAIG MENTIONED THAT. YOU KNOW, LET'S GET RID OF INTERPROVINCIAL TRADE BARRIERS. MY GOD, HOW MANY YEARS HAVE WE BEEN TALKING ABOUT DOING THAT?

Steve says ONLY ABOUT 40.

Janet says AND PEOPLE LIKE TO JOKE: NEVER LET A CRISIS GO TO WASTE. I MEAN, THERE ARE INCREDIBLE THINGS HAPPENING OUT THERE IN THE ECONOMY. PEOPLE ARE TURNING ON A DIME. EVEN GOVERNMENTS, ON SOME ISSUES, ARE TURNING ON A DIME. FOR EXAMPLE, IN HEALTH CARE. WE ARE ACTUALLY GETTING VIRTUAL CARE STARTING TO BE ESTABLISHED ACROSS THE COUNTRY IN A WAY THAT, YOU KNOW, AGAIN, COULD HAVE BEEN DONE YEARS... MAYBE YEARS AGO. SO LET'S TAKE A BLENDED APPROACH. LET'S SET ASIDE ANYBODY'S IDEOLOGY. IT'S COMMON SENSE. IT'S WHAT'S GOING TO WORK. LISTENING TO THE PEOPLE OUT THERE ON THE GROUND IN THOSE BUSINESSES, YOU KNOW, ABOUT HOW WE CAN HELP THEM CONTINUE TO GROW.

Steve says IN OUR REMAINING MOMENTS HERE, I WANT TO JUST START WITH OUR LAST AREA OF EXPLORATION BY PLAYING A CLIP FROM ARMINE YALNIZYAN, WHO YOU ALL KNOW, THE ECONOMIST, WHO... AN ATKINSON FELLOW WHO HAD THIS TO SAY ABOUT THE LEVEL OF INDEBTEDNESS WE'RE ALL EXPERIENCING RIGHT NOW, BOTH AS GOVERNMENTS, AS COUNTRIES, PERSONALLY, AND AN OPTION FOR HOW WE MIGHT HANDLE ALL OF THAT DEBT.

A clip plays on screen with the caption "Armine Yalnizian."

In the clip, Armine speaks on screen.

She's in her fifties, with long wavy gray hair and glasses.

She says WE HAVE A BIBLICAL LESSON THERE FROM DEUTERONOMY AND THE OLD TESTAMENT IS THAT IS EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE YOU HAVE TO WIPE THE SLATE CLEAN WITH WHAT WE OWE EACH OTHER AND PRESS RESTART. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE MOUNTAINS OF DEBT. JUST HAS COVID HAS CAUSED US TO WIPE LOTS OF THINGS CLEAN IN ORDER TO SURVIVE, WE MIGHT HAVE TO TAKE A VERY DIFFERENT APPROACH TO DEBT ON THE OTHER SIDE.

The clip ends.

Steve says JIM, WHAT DO YOU THINK? EVERYBODY JUST CANCELS ALL THE DEBT THEY'RE HOLDING RIGHT NOW? WE START FRESH?

Jim says WELL, THAT WOULD BE ONE WAY TO DO IT FOR SURE. I THINK THERE IS SOME ROLE FOR SO-CALLED DEBT JUBILEE, IF YOU LIKE, OR FOR BASICALLY RESTRUCTURING. THAT'S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A COMPANY GOES BANKRUPT, AFTER ALL. THEY GO INTO PROTECTION. THEY PUT IT THROUGH THE WASHING MACHINE, AS THEY SAY. SOME OF THE BONDHOLDERS AND OTHER EQUITY HOLDERS TAKE A HAIRCUT AND THE COMPANY COMES OUT ABLE TO OPERATE AGAIN. I THINK THAT WILL BE PARTICULARLY REQUIRED. I DON'T THINK THAT'S NECESSARY, CERTAINLY NOT FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. AND IF WE DO IT RIGHT IT SHOULDN'T BE NECESSARY FOR LOWER LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT AS WELL, AS LONG AS WE'RE USING SOME OF THOSE POWERS WE TALKED ABOUT, THE BANK OF CANADA AND SO ON, TO SUPPORT PROVINCES AND CITIES IN MANAGING THEIR OWN DEFICITS. CITIES ARE THE ONES ACTUALLY WHO FACE THE MOST PAINFUL FISCAL CRISIS OF ANY LEVEL OF GOVERNMENT AND THEY'RE GOING TO NEED HELP. IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR, I THINK SOMETHING LIKE THAT, JUBILEE, OR WASHING MACHINES OR RESTRUCTURING OR HAIRCUTS IS ULTIMATELY GOING TO BE PART OF THE THING. I DON'T THINK WE HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THAT NOW. AND I THINK THE GOVERNMENT, BY TRYING TO SUPPORT HOUSEHOLDS, BUSINESSES, RENTERS, STUDENTS AND OTHERS TO GET TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THIS IMMEDIATE EMERGENCY, I THINK IS GOING TO HELP US A LOT. ONCE WE GET TO THE OTHER SIDE AND WE START PUTTING THE ECONOMY BACK TO WORK, I THINK A LOT OF THOSE DEBTS CAN AND MUST BE WRITTEN OFF ONE WAY OR ANOTHER. SO I THINK THERE'S A GRAIN OF TRUTH TO THAT.

Steve says LET ME LEAVE THE PRIVATE SECTOR OUT OF THIS, CRAIG, FOR A MOMENT, AND JUST TALK ABOUT GOVERNMENTS. CAN YOU IMAGINE A COMING TOGETHER LET'S SAY AT THE UNITED NATIONS WHERE ALL GOVERNMENTS AGREE, YOU KNOW WHAT? WE'RE STARTING FROM SCRATCH WHEN IT COMES TO DEBT?

Craig says NO, I DON'T SEE A WORLD LIKE THAT HAPPENING. AND I THINK THAT ULTIMATELY IF YOU... IF YOU START TO RAISE THE POSSIBILITY THAT THE BORROWERS ARE NOT GOING TO GET PAID, WE'RE GOING TO END UP WITH... WE'LL END UP WITH A GLOBAL FINANCIAL CATASTROPHE ON OUR HANDS. I DON'T THINK THAT'S... AND THAT'S NOT THE APPROACH GOVERNMENTS ARE LOOKING AT DEALING WITH THIS ISSUE, RIGHT? GOVERNMENTS ARE TAKING ON A LOT OF DEBT. CENTRAL BANKS ARE MAKING SURE THAT THEY CAN AFFORD IT BY KEEPING INTEREST RATES INCREDIBLY LOW, AND AT THE SAME TIME, THEY ARE PURSUING BOND-BUYING PROGRAMS, AT LEAST TEMPORARILY, TO CONTRIBUTE TO LOWER BOND YIELDS FOR GOVERNMENTS. SO MONETARY POLICY IS WORKING IN COORDINATION WITH FISCAL POLICY TO ENSURE THAT THE INTEREST RATE ENVIRONMENT IS SUCH THAT THE RATES ARE BELOW THE RATE OF INFLATION AND THAT GOVERNMENTS ARE GOING TO BE ABLE TO PAY THEIR BILLS. I DO WORRY... I DON'T WORRY ABOUT CANADA. I THINK THAT, YOU KNOW, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CAN AFFORD THE DEBTS THAT IT'S GOING TO BE RUNNING. I WORRY A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT SOME OF THE PROVINCES, BUT NOT ACUTELY. I DON'T LOSE ANY SLEEP OVER IT. I THINK THAT YOU'RE PROBABLY GOING TO HAVE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENTS THAT GET CREDIT RATING DOWN GRADES. BUT I THINK GOVERNMENTS AROUND THE WORLD ARE ALL GOING TO GET CREDIT RATING DOWN GRADES. IN A SENSE IF EVERYBODY GOES DOWN A NOTCH OR TWO, IT BECOMES THE NEW NORMAL. WHEREAS BEFORE THE PANDEMIC, PEOPLE WERE WORRIED ABOUT, YOU KNOW, ONTARIO... THE ONTARIO GOVERNMENT GETTING A CREDIT RATING DOWNGRADE. I THINK THE REALITY IS, IN THE POST-COVID WORLD, GOVERNMENTS ARE ALL GOING TO BE GETTING DOWNGRADES SO IN A SENSE YOU CHANGE THE BENCH MARK AND IT DOESN'T MATTER SO MUCH. BUT I DON'T SEE GOVERNMENTS JUST SIMPLY WRITING OFF THE DEBT. I THINK THE SOLUTION TO IT IS WHAT WE'VE ALREADY ALLUDED TO, WHICH IS GROWING OUR WAY OUT OF THE DEBT, AND I THINK THAT, YOU KNOW, WHEN WE THINK ABOUT WHERE GOVERNMENTS, YOU KNOW, PUT THEIR MONEY, I THINK THAT'S WHERE IT HAS TO BE FOCUSED.

Steve says JANET ECKER, LAST WORD TO YOU, LAST MINUTE TO YOU. YOU KNOW, A POPULIST, A FIERY POPULIST POLITICIAN COULD REALLY HAVE A FIELD DAY WITH THE NOTION OF A DEBT JUBILEE. DO YOU SEE IT?

Janet says WELL, I THINK WE'RE GOING TO BE AT RISK OF POPULIST SOLUTIONS FROM BOTH THE LEFT AND THE RIGHT. YOU KNOW, AS PEOPLE COME OUT OF THIS. AND WE'RE CERTAINLY SEEING SOME OF THAT DISRUPTION DOWN IN THE UNITED STATES. YEAH. SO I THINK CERTAINLY THAT'S A RISK. BUT HOPEFULLY, WHAT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE FROM OUR GOVERNMENTS FEDERALLY AND PROVINCIALLY IS, AS I SAID, A BALANCED APPROACH, TO SIT DOWN WITH THE DIFFERENT SECTORS AND SAY: WHAT CAN WE DO, SECTOR BY SECTOR, REGION BY REGION, WHAT CAN WE DO TO PUSH ECONOMIC GROWTH, SUPPORT ECONOMIC GROWTH IN THAT INDUSTRY AND THAT COMPANY AND THAT REGION. THEY'RE NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO SAVE EVERYBODY. THAT'S ONE OF THE REAL TRAGEDIES ABOUT THIS. BUT I THINK WHEN YOU'RE SEEING THEM SORT OF PUTTING TOGETHER THEIR RECOVERY PLAN, STARTING TO THINK ABOUT WHAT THAT LONGER TERM AS WE COME OUT OF THIS, ASSUMING WE DO AT SOME POINT, BECAUSE OF COURSE WE DON'T KNOW IF WE HAVE IMMUNITY AFTER WE'VE HAD IT, WE DON'T HAVE A VACCINE YET, ET CETERA, SO COMING OUT OF THIS IS KIND OF A VAGUE TURN RIGHT NOW. BUT A BALANCED APPROACH IS WHAT WE NEED THAT IS FOCUSED VERY MUCH EVIDENCE-BASED ON WHAT'S GOING TO GENERATE JOBS OUT THERE.

The caption changes to "Producer: Cara Stern, @carastern."

Steve says JANET ECKER, CRAIG ALEXANDER, JIM STANFORD, IT'S GOOD OF ALL THREE OF YOU TO JOIN US ON TVO TONIGHT. BE SAFE OUT THERE, EVERYBODY, AND WE'LL TALK TO YOU AGAIN SOON.

Janet says THANKS, STEVE.

Craig says THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Jim says THANK YOU STEVE.

Watch: How Will We Pay for Pandemic Relief?