‘There’s other things to worry about right now’: Magna CEO says deficits are a future problem
The chief executive of Magna International Inc. is applauding Ottawa’s efforts to prop up the economy through the COVID-19 pandemic, but is warning governments must be sensible in their spending.
“It’s going to be an interesting time between governments making intelligent aid packages, and keeping important industries afloat, but they can’t spend money unwisely because it comes from everybody, and they’ve got to look at it long term,” Don Walker told BNN Bloomberg’s Amanda Lang Thursday.
While there are still some details missing about the federal programs being offered in Canada, Walker is giving credit to government officials for “stepping up and saying: ‘We want to keep people employed.’”
“I’m encouraged to see the government is trying to do the right things and understand that they need to keep the economy going,” he said.
The Aurora, Ont.-based auto parts manufacturer, like many companies, has been directly hit by COVID-19 with many of its operations shut down across the globe. However, Walker noted that with operations in China, it’s encouraging to see that country’s economy start up again.
Walker’s comments come in the wake of a ballooning federal deficit as Ottawa introduces new measures in response to the pandemic. With the latest $71-billion wage subsidy plan, the government’s total spending tied to the virus is sitting at roughly $255 billion, according to BNN Bloomberg’s calculation.
“I can’t possibly understand how complicated this is for the government right now,” Walker said.
He added that while the deficit is growing, that’s not a top concern right now, echoing Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s comments on BNN Bloomberg earlier in the week.
“There’s other things to worry about right now,” Walker said.