Canada's Morneau says fiscal measures critically important

Tue Feb 23, 2016 1:43pm EST
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Fiscal measures to boost economic expansion are critical given the global low-growth environment, Canada's finance minister said on Tuesday, the day after the government warned it would run much bigger budget deficits than previously anticipated.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau told the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance that the new Liberal government intended to move forward on its election campaign promises to stimulate the economy and that it wanted to make sure measures had maximum economic impact.

Morneau also said the government was committed to balancing the budget, though the time frame for that was not clear.

Morneau said on Monday the budget deficit in 2016-17 would be C$18.4 billion ($13.35 billion), excluding spending plans that will be revealed in the March budget. That is steeper than the C$3.9 billion deficit the Liberals, who won an election in October, had forecast in November.

($1 = 1.3780 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Alan Crosby)

Canada's Finance Minister Bill Morneau speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, February 22, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Wattie