(Corrects figures in 5th paragraph to show that deficit would be C$900 million and not C$3 billion in 2016-17, and that subsequent years would show surpluses and not deficits)
OTTAWA, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Canada’s new Liberal government on Friday painted a significantly gloomier fiscal picture than that of the outgoing Conservatives, saying it was inheriting billions of dollars of deficits despite Conservative assertions of surplus.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau said that without accounting for planned Liberal measures the deficit would be C$3.0 billion ($2.3 billion) in the current fiscal year and C$3.9 billion in 2016-17, with deficits continuing through 2018-19.
However, a large portion of this worse outlook is because the Liberals chose to adjust down their forecasts of economic growth to levels well below the downwardly revised levels predicted by private-sector economists, effectively adding a contingency reserve.
This lower growth forecast adds C$1.5 billion to the projected deficit for 2015-16 and C$3.0 billion for each of the five years from 2016-17 on.
Without that economic adjustment, the deficits would be C$1.5 billion for 2015-16 and C$900 million for 2016-17, with surpluses in subsequent years. (Reporting by Randall Palmer; Editing by James Dalgleish)