Canada says stimulus may come sooner than in U.S

Wed Nov 26, 2008 12:27pm EST
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By Randall Palmer

OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Canadian government, fending off complaints it is moving too slowly on a stimulus package for the economy, said on Wednesday it would probably deliver its economic boost faster than the United States.

Thursday's fall economic and fiscal update will provide more restraint than stimulus, but there will be new stimulus plans in the budget to be delivered early next year and the budget date will be advanced, an aide to Prime Minister Stephen Harper said.

"In all likelihood, we will actually be acting far faster than the U.S. government is acting," said the aide, briefing reporters ahead of the fiscal update, on condition of anonymity.

"The president-elect (Barack Obama) does not become president until January 20. Then there's a legislative process that needs to go on.... Our legislative process tends to move more quickly than the U.S. one."

Canada's annual budget is normally delivered in late February or early March ahead of the April 1 start of the fiscal year, but it will now come earlier.

The aide did not say how early but it will not be before Christmas and Parliament does not return from its Christmas break until January 26.

He said the government needed time to craft proper spending plans and to see how the economy is unfolding, and was also looking at what the United States might do.

"We're looking at moving quickly but it's also important that we have due diligence around various spending scenarios."   Continued...

<p>Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper talks to the media after the signing of a free trade agreement between Colombia and Canada in Lima November 21, 2008. REUTERS/Enrique Castro Mendivil</p>