Comparing the 2011-2012 provincial deficits

Eight out of 10 provinces are forecasted to register deficits in their 2011-2012 fiscal years. These range from $73 million in P.E.I. to $16 billion in Ontario. Newfoundland and Saskatchewan bucked the trend by registering surpluses of $756 and $56 million respectively.

To make this red ink comparable, the graph below converts these into per capita numbers. On average, provinces spent $758 more per person than they made. This ranges from $357 per capita in Alberta to $1,245 or about 3.5 times more per person in Ontario. In other words, the Ontario government went further into debt in one year by spending the equivalent of three 40 inch flat screen Dynex TVs and about 27 movie rentals per person. Newfoundland's surplus on the other hand was enough to pay off four of the same TVs.

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