Quebec, in switch, says it may run deficit: report

Fri Jan 30, 2009 8:59am EST
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Quebec Premier Jean Charest, in a reversal similar to that of the Canadian government, was quoted on Friday as saying his province may now be forced to run a budget deficit.

"I can't close the door to a deficit, because the economy has deteriorated so rapidly just in the last few months," La Presse newspaper quoted him as saying at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

"If we have to go into deficit, we would do it because we want to maintain employment and make sure that people are taken care of during an economic slowdown. We are ready to advance other measures to confront the growing deterioration of the world economy."

Charest had pledged in the campaign for his reelection in December to stay out of deficit. Quebec has the second-largest economy in Canada.

(Reporting by Randall Palmer, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)