OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada’s Finance Minister Bill Morneau said on Tuesday he intends to deliver an economic and fiscal update before the end of the year, though he did not yet have an exact date.
Morneau said it was not really a surprise that a report released by the country’s parliamentary budget watchdog earlier on Tuesday had been somewhat more pessimistic than its previous one, although he said it does not form part of the government’s formal analysis.
The office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) said Canada was set to run bigger deficits in coming years, even excluding fresh spending pledged by the new Liberal government. The PBO also downgraded its economic growth forecasts.
The Liberals, who ousted the previous Conservative government in last month’s federal election, plan to run three years of deficits to invest in infrastructure spending to boost the economy. Morneau said the PBO report reinforced the need for the Liberals’ plans.
“We were, and continue to be concerned with the state of the economy,” Morneau told reporters.
“We will be bringing forth an economic and fiscal update over the course of the near term,” said Morneau, who was appointed finance minister last week. “It is our intent to do something in that regard in this calendar year.”
Pressed for a more exact date, Morneau said it would not be in the next few days, partly because he will be attending the Group of 20 summit in Turkey, but he expects it will be before Christmas.
Morneau said potential federal government aid to plane-maker Bombardier (BBDb.TO) had not yet been discussed by the cabinet, “but I know this will be a topic we will be considering.”
Asked about Quebec’s announced $1 billion investment in the company, Morneau said, “I think that’s up to the Quebec government. So I will leave them to make the decisions on what they should do in Quebec and we’ll have to consider what is right for Canadians and Canada.”
Writing by Leah Schnurr; Editing by James Dalgleish and Alan Crosby