Debt for all 3 levels of government hits high of $47K per person in St. John's, low of $23K in Whitehorse.
It's coming to the end of budget season, that time of year when the federal and provincial governments tell us how much they're going to spend, and more often than not, borrow in our name.
The federal and most of the provincial budgets are in, with only Saskatchewan and Manitoba to come.
- Will spoiled boomers bankrupt the millennials? Probably not
- Federal budget 2016: Liberals push deficit to spend big on families, cities
- N.L. budget: $1.83B deficit, across-the-board tax hikes and layoffs
Most Canadians are familiar with the federal debt, the accumulation of the federal government's borrowing over time. That number, according to the most recent budget, will hit $648.7 billion by the end of the fiscal year.
The share of the country's federal debt for each child, woman and man will be about $17,995.
Debt figures, of course, should be considered in light of a country's assets, the size of its economy and ability to pay interest on its debt, and by that score Canada is in relatively good shape, even if the numbers seem alarming.
Provinces also run deficits, and build up big debts in the process. Ontario has a debt of $296 billion, or about $21,470 per person. Quebec's debt is $187 billion, or about $22,641 per person.
And while Newfoundland and Labrador's debt total is much lower at $14.6 billion, when spread across its smaller population the per capita debt in that province is the highest in the country at $27,782.
Cities are not allowed to run deficits, but they can borrow to spend on infrastructure and other projects, and they do — Toronto has a debt of $3.5 billion, while Montreal's is $5.5 billion — twice that of P.E.I.'s debt and about the same as Saskatchewan's $5.53 billion debt.
Depending on where you live, the total debt from all three levels of government, when added up and divided by the population, is as high as $47,439 per person (St. John's) or as low as $23,165 per person (Whitehorse).
The debt picture
A resident of St. John's doesn't actually owe the money racked up by the city, province and federal government that represents them, but by adding up all levels of debt a clearer picture emerges of just how much governments are borrowing in our name.
"The problem is that there is no incentive for any level of government to point out the debt at another level of government," said Aaron Wudrick, federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers' Federation. "They kind of want to minimize what it looks like, and that I think is the problem."
"When we talk about debt I think it's important we be clear about the total amount. At the end of the day there is only one taxpayer," he said.