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UPDATE 1-Canadian growth unfolding as forecast- Flaherty
* Finance minister says seeing moderate economic growth
* Says would be flexible if faced with shock from abroad
* Has not been involved in auto union contract talks
By Claire Sibonney
WHITBY, Ontario, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Canada's economic growth is moderate but unfolding as forecast in the federal budget, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said on Thursday, adding that he would be flexible if the economy was hit with an external shock.
"Right now we are seeing moderate economic growth in Canada, which is what was anticipated in the budget this year," Flaherty told reporters after an announcement in his riding.
"If we were to have a shock to the Canadian economy that came from outside our country as we did in 2008-2009 then we would be flexible and pragmatic ... we do have a contingency plan."
Last week, Flaherty said there was growing concern about the United States' ability to tighten its budget as needed while continuing to grow and that this and the European debt crisis could seriously harm Canada.
Flaherty also told reporters on Thursday that he hasn't been involved in contract negotiations between the Canadian Auto Workers union and the Detroit Three automakers - General Motors Co., Fiat SpA's Chrysler and Ford Motor Co. .
"The government is always prepared to be helpful if we can be helpful ... I haven't had any recent discussions with them during the course of their negotiations," he said.
The union reached a tentative agreement with Ford on Monday, but the bargaining process has been slow with GM and Chrysler and remains unresolved.
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