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Abstract

The federal government has made deficit reduction one of its prime policy goals for several years now. This deficit is conventionally defined as that portion of the government's spending not covered by revenues, that is, in financial terms. Yet, it has become increasingly understood that Canada is accumulating an environmental deficit just as it is running up a financial deficit. This environmental deficit is evident in a continuing deterioration in environmental quality and in unsustainable forestry, fishery, and agriculture practices which deplete productive resources faster than they can be replenished. Just as Canadians are passing on a high level of financial indebtedness to future generations by living beyond their means, so are they leaving a degraded natural environment to their children by polluting it and over-exploiting its renewable resources. In both instances, future generations will face more restricted choices.

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