June 9, 2014 / 12:37 PM / in 4 years

Canada alarmed G7 partners may slide back into higher deficits

MONTREAL, June 9 (Reuters) - Finance Minister Joe Oliver said on Monday he was concerned that Canada’s partners in the Group of 20 (G20) leading industrialized nations and elsewhere might loosen fiscal discipline and increase budget deficits.

Oliver also pledged to continue to advocate for U.S. approval of TransCanada Corp’s Keystone XL crude oil pipeline, and said the Conservative government makes its determination on resource projects “under the guidance of independent, science-based regulatory reviews.”

He was speaking eight days before the government is due to decide on Enbridge Inc’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline from Alberta to the British Columbia coast, but did not mention the crude oil project by name.

In prepared remarks for delivery at the economic Conference de Montreal, he said G20 and other countries needed to build on previous economic commitments and not abandon them.

“This is particularly true for fiscal policy, where governments must move towards stable and sustainable public finances,” he said.

“I am concerned, frankly, that we may slide back - back to deeper budgetary deficits and higher debt. G7 countries together average a budgetary deficit of 5.9 percent of GDP (gross domestic product).”

He said it was important that whatever government is formed in Ontario, Canada’s largest province, after this week’s election “make a serious commitment to growth and a balanced budget.”

Reporting by Alastair Sharp in Montreal; Writing by Randall Palmer in Ottawa; Editing by David Ljunggren

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