Canada deficit spending will be temporary: Flaherty

Tue Dec 23, 2008 10:30am EST
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TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian government will ensure that any deficit spending it unveils in the January 27 budget will be temporary, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said last week that the government could run a deficit of up to C$30 billion ($24.6 billion) next year as it tries to stimulate the economy and fight off the global financial crisis.

"We will ensure that spending that puts us into deficit is temporary, is for finite purposes, so that we will not be into a permanent deficit," Flaherty told a televised news conference in Toronto.

"We haven't made any decisions, I can tell you, about what will be in the budget or what will not be in the budget other than obviously there will be some stimulus in the budget because the economy is weakening significantly," he said.

Flaherty also said he would lay out in the budget how he plans to return to a budget surplus.

He was speaking just before the first meeting of a new economic advisory council he has convened to help him steer Canada through the crisis.

(Reporting by Cameron French, writing by David Ljunggren; editing by Peter Galloway)

<p>Canada's Finance Minister Jim Flaherty talks with the media after an all day meeting with the provincial and territorial finance minister in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan December 17, 2008. REUTERS/David Stobbe</p>