My contribution to Maclean’s 2018 Chartapalooza was a plot of the federal government’s share of total government expenditure in Canada since 1870. The chart showed that until World War I, with the exception of period marked by the building of the federally subsidized CPR, the federal share of total government spending in Canada was approximately 40 percent. After the peak of over 70 percent reached during World War I, the federal share came down quickly but went up again during the Depression era and soared during World War II reaching over 90 percent. The federal share of spending came down more gradually after World War II—leveling off at almost 50 percent during the 1970s and 1980s before falling once again to about 40 percent during the 1990s.
However, this chart can be improved upon in two ways. First, it would be useful to include not only the federal government but also provincial and local government expenditure shares over the period 1870 to the present. As well, if one is going to include federal, provincial and local governments, it would be useful to take transfers to lower tiers into account and look at spending shares net of those transfers. So, this is what I attempt to do in the accompanying chart where I present federal, provincial and local expenditure shares net of transfers – at least for the period since 1933.