Canada to bring in law ensuring federal budget must balance, barring crises

Fri Oct 18, 2013 8:29am EDT
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's Conservative government promised on Wednesday to introduce new legislation that will require balanced budgets except during economic crises, and renewed a pledge to balance its books by 2015.

In a speech setting out priorities for the second half of its mandate, the government said it would freeze the federal operating budget and make further targeted cuts to internal government spending.

The government will also:

- Target a debt to GDP ratio of 25 percent in 2021 and reduce that ratio to pre-recession levels by 2017

- Invest C$70 billion ($68 billion) in infrastructure over the next decade

- Review federal assets and sell them when it is in the best interest of Canadians

- Require rail shippers to carry more insurance and take steps to increase the safety of the transportation of dangerous good

- Ensure natural resource sectors remain open to foreign investment "when it is market-oriented and in the long-term interests of Canadians"

(Reporting by Randall Palmer; Editing by Janet Guttsman)