Finance Minister Joe Oliver will announce legislation on Wednesday committing the government — or any future government — to keeping a balanced budget, except under “extraordinary circumstances.”
The only “acceptable deficit,” a government source said Tuesday, would be in the event of a recession or during a war or natural disaster with costs exceeding $3 billion in a fiscal year.
On Friday, a day after the federal budget was unveiled, the National Post’s John Ivison talked to Jim Flaherty, who was making a speech in Vancouver on his way to Hong Kong. The Finance Minister spoke about his future; about the prospect of forcing workfare on First Nations reserves; and about the new Canada Job Grant, which will see Ottawa grab money for skills training back from the provinces:
OTTAWA – Canada’s budget watchdog says the country is on track to run a $3.6-billion surplus in 2014-15 — which would balance the books a year ahead of government predictions.
But the Parliamentary Budget Officer is urging Ottawa to proceed with caution when deciding whether to use surplus cash to introduce spending initiatives or to bring permanent tax relief.
If not, the PBO says the government risks falling back into deficit once economic growth slows.
Jim Flaherty lowered his outlook for this year’s deficit to $16.6-billion from the $17.9-billion estimate in his November fiscal update. For 2014-15, the shortfall forecast has been lowered to $2.9-billion from $5.5-billion. At the same time, the minister has raised his surplus target for 2015-16 to $6.4-billion from $3.7-billion. In the coming years, that surplus is projected to grow steadily before reaching $10.3-billion in 2018-19, the government’s current forecast horizon. “It’s been a long road back from the Great Recession to a balanced budget,” he said.
QUEBEC — Quebec’s two major opposition parties say they’ll vote against the next provincial budget when it is tabled in the spring— a move that would trigger a general election.
The possibility of a non-confidence vote on the budget arose Thursday when Finance Minister Nicolas Marceau announced Quebec’s balanced budget will be delayed until 2015-16, primarily because of lower-than-expected revenues.
NDP Leader Adrian Dix would recycle the Pacific Carbon Trust if a New Democrat government is elected on May 14.
Dix made the environmental announcement in a Kamloops park, in the same riding where Liberal Environment Minister Terry Lake is seeking re-election.
The NDP Leader says he would dissolve the Carbon Trust and use some of the carbon tax revenue to fund transit or other green initiatives.