Canada says government mortgage insurance not essential

Wed May 16, 2012 1:48pm EDT
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said on Wednesday it was possible the government could one day privatize the mortgage insurance business of the state-run federal housing agency, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp (CMHC).

"Is it inevitable that the government, the people of Canada, will always own the residential mortgage insurance company? The answer to that is no, it's not inevitable that that will be forever owned by the people of Canada because it's not an essential service," Flaherty told the Senate banking committee.

(Reporting By Louise Egan and Randall Palmer; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)