Harper vows bigger payments to provinces

Fri Jan 16, 2009 4:36pm EST
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's federal government has no intention of cutting transfer payments to provincial governments during the economic downturn, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Friday.

Harper, speaking to reporters, was responding to concerns that his minority Conservative government would change the way it calculates so-called equalization payments to provinces to ensure all regions have the same fiscal capacity.

He also reaffirmed his government's commitment to making permanent changes to federally regulated pension plans.

(Reporting by Randall Palmer; editing by Peter Galloway)