As Canadians we are used to personal debt. Debt has become the new normal. So when Justin Trudeau says that his government plans to spend more than what it will bring in, the statement just breezes by us with little reaction. And when Stephen Harper says he has a billion dollar surplus because the money wasn't spent on the Veteran's to which it was allocated we collectively shrug our shoulders and go about our day.
Contrary to what the Liberal leader has been saying government debt is he enemy of social progress. When programs are created and funded through borrowed money they are the first things on the chopping block when the inevitable austerity measures kick-in.
When the government budgeted the money to be spent on veteran's it became their responsibility to do so as soon as the budget passed. A budget surplus (spending shortfall) as big as the one for veteran's services can only mean the the government failed to meet its obligations and breached public trust. So, regardless of what the Conservatives would like us to believe, a budgetary surplus created by refusing to spend allocated program money is not a good thing is it is fraud and creates a different type of deficit, a social one, that must be paid eventually.
Setting budgets and balancing them (spending the money allocated to the programs) are essential for truly sustainable social programs.