Flaherty sticks with budget forecasts

Tue Mar 18, 2008 12:14pm EDT
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said on Tuesday that Canada's economic fundamentals are strong and that he is comfortable with the growth forecasts the government put forward in the federal budget on February 26.

"We continue to monitor growth forecasts, of course, but we are comfortable with the forecasts that we had in the budget that I presented," Flaherty told reporters in Toronto.

The federal government said it sees economic growth slowing to 1.7 percent in 2008, and then rebounding to 2.4 percent in 2009.

In 2007, Canada's economic growth came in at 2.7 percent.

Flaherty also said that Canadian bank mergers are still not a priority for the government, even considering the problems facing the financial sector in the United States.

"Our opposition on bank mergers remains what it has been for more than two years, that it's not a priority for us."

(Reporting by Frank Pingue, writing by John McCrank)

<p>Canada's Finance Minister Jim Flaherty speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa March 10, 2008. REUTERS/Chris Wattie</p>