Keep calm and borrow on: Chrystia Freeland and the new logic of deficits in a pandemic

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During her remarks on how the pandemic is shifting Liberal fiscal policy Wednesday, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland acknowledged that her words might sound scary to some Canadians — particularly those of a certain age. “Now, for Canadians of a certain vintage — and I freely admit to being one of them — the idea of increasing government debt holds particular terrors,” Freeland said, pointing to the fiscal turmoil of the mid-1990s that defined the political debate on fiscal policy in Canada for nearly a quarter century. “But it is a poor general who fights the last war,” she continued. “And the reality is that, today, the prevailing global economic environment is changed entirely.”