Flaherty reelected, says crisis not over

Wed Oct 15, 2008 12:15am EDT
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, who was reelected on Tuesday, vowed to shield Canadian homeowners and businesses from the global credit crisis and run a balanced budget this year.

Flaherty declined to say whether he would continue as finance minister in a second minority Conservative government, which will likely involve a cabinet shuffle.

"I expect some continued volatility. The global credit crisis is not over yet," he told CTV television shortly after winning his seat in Parliament in a general election.

"We've been doing what is necessary in Canada to protect the integrity of our financial system, which is the most sound in the world," he said. "We have to continue to watch and monitor and make sure we have available credit for homeowners and businesses in Canada."

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the first Western leader to face the electorate since the financial meltdown, won a strengthened second minority government, according to provisional results.

Asked whether he thought it would be a good idea for Harper to replace his finance minister in times of global financial turmoil, Flaherty said: "It's important that there be continuity in terms of the government's approach to these issues because based on what we've done so far Canada is in good shape, certainly relatively speaking compared to some in the G7."

Ottawa will run a budget surplus this year, he said, and the economy will grow at a modest pace.

"We have our fiscal fundamentals in order, the best in the G7. So I'm satisfied that there'll be enough confidence in the government in Parliament to continue that track," he said.

(Reporting by Louise Egan; Editing by Eric Walsh)

<p>Finance Minister Jim Flaherty speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa June 4, 2008. REUTERS/Chris Wattie</p>