Canada to spend C$7 bln on infrastructure

Mon Jan 26, 2009 10:29am EST
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Canadian budget will contain a total of C$7 billion ($5.7 billion) to be spent on various infrastructure projects over the next two years, the minister in charge of infrastructure said on Monday.

John Baird said Tuesday's budget would contain a C$4 billion infrastructure fund. It would also include a C$2 billion plan for university repairs and construction and a C$1 billion fund designed to boost sustainable energy.

"By getting shovels into the ground on these types of projects we not only create jobs and economic activity now, we also improve our economic competitiveness for decades to come," Baird told a news conference.

Government officials -- under huge pressure to tackle the growing effects of the global financial crisis -- say Canada will run budget deficits totaling C$64 billion over the next two years as it tries to stimulate the economy.

Human Resources Minister Diane Finley said on Sunday the budget would also contain around C$2 billion to help retrain people who had lost their jobs.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Rob Wilson)