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Calling it a “harbinger” of the 2013 budget to come, Treasury Board President Tony Clement released the main estimate for all federal government spending in the fiscal year that begins April 1.
Calling it a “harbinger” of the 2013 budget to come, Treasury Board President Tony Clement released the main estimate for all federal government spending in the fiscal year that begins April 1.
(ADRIAN WYLD/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Has the government really saved $4.9-billion? Don't count on it

When the Conservatives tabled their spending plan last week, Treasury Board President Tony Clement cited a $4.9-billion reduction in certain kinds of spending as evidence of their belt-tightening. But without this year’s budget, how much stock should we put in these estimates?

If history is any indicator, not a whole lot. Over the past five years, organizations have blown past these original estimates 61 per cent of the time, according to data collected from spending plans and corresponding totals released the following year.