(Recasts with Oliver comments in TV interview)
By Alastair Sharp
TORONTO, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Canadians should not be “unduly pessimistic” about the economic impact of the recent slide in oil prices, Finance Minister Joe Oliver said on Friday, a day after delaying the federal budget due to energy market instability.
“The Canadian economy is in pretty good shape despite this (fall in oil prices),” Oliver said in an interview on CP24 television. “We shouldn’t be unduly pessimistic. Canada is doing well, we’ve created 1.2 million jobs, we’re doing better than most other countries and Canadians should be reassured by that.”
Oliver had earlier brushed off questions about the timing of the federal budget, after saying on Thursday that it would not be presented before April.
The budget is usually introduced in February or March, and occasionally as early as January, given that the government’s fiscal year starts on April 1.
Asked how long the government would be prepared to delay the budget if markets continue to show instability, Oliver told reporters: “I don’t want to get into negative hypotheticals.”
“We’ve decided that we won’t issue the budget earlier than April because of the current instability and we’ll make a decision as we approach that date.” (With additional writing by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Bernadette Baum, Jeffrey Hodgson and Peter Galloway)