In contrast with the data pertaining to debt service, no general trend can be discerned in the data concerning net debt as a percentage of GDP of the six provinces having the highest debt levels. In particular, in 2007, three of these six provinces – Manitoba, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador – had lower net debt as a percentage of their GDP than in 1987. The strongest variation occurred in Newfoundland and Labrador, where net debt fell 43.8% during this period, whereas Manitoba posted the least such decrease, at 22.4%. This situation is relatively comparable to that noted for all of Canada, where net debt as a percentage of GDP declined 15.4%. As concerns the remaining three provinces – namely, Quebec, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia – their total net debt as a percentage of their GDP increased to varying extents between 1987 and 2007. The province reporting the highest increase was Nova Scotia (+ 33.9%), followed by Prince Edward Island (+ 13.1%) and Quebec (+ 2.8%).
Furthermore, for the period stretching from 1995 to 2007, the net debt of six provinces fell considerably where each is concerned. Again, this trend stems from the high priority accorded by provincial governments to eliminating budget deficits beginning in the mid-1990s. Coupled with strong economic growth, anti-deficit measures enabled the provincial governments to considerably slow the growth of their debt, thus producing a direct impact on net debt estimated as a percentage of GDP. It is worth noting that Alberta is the only province in Canada to have entirely eliminated its net debt. Thus, between 1999 and 2007, Alberta, whose net debt once represented 0.3% of its GDP, now enjoys a surplus equivalent to 14.4% of the province’s GDP.