TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian government is trying to dispense infrastructure investments into the economy as quickly as possible to spur growth, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday.
Trudeau said during a Reuters Newsmaker event in Toronto that the government is monitoring jobs data and other figures very closely and is not “dogmatic about what works.”
Trudeau’s Liberals came to power last year promising C$60 billion in new infrastructure spending, bringing the total to C$120 billion ($91 billion) overall over 10 years.
“I think there’s always going to be a tension between yes, we want to get this money out the door to help as many people with good jobs as possible, but it’s not just about creating good jobs in the short term, we have to be confident that they’re the right investments for the medium and long term,” he said.
Canada, a major oil exporter, is struggling to cope with a prolonged slump in crude prices that has slashed revenues and led to higher unemployment, particularly in the energy sector.
Growth this year is less than Ottawa initially expected, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said last week, in a sign Ottawa could run budget deficits for longer than planned.
In March, the government unveiled a budget with a shortfall of just under C$30 billion for the 2016-17 fiscal year. Pressed in May on whether this was a hard cap, Trudeau told Reuters that he was not obsessed with a “perfect number.”
Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said last week it could take the economy up to five years to fully readjust to the challenges of cheap crude oil.
Writing by David Ljunggren and Matt Scuffham; Editing by Alan Crosby