TORONTO Nov 22 Canadian Finance Minister Jim
Flaherty said on Thursday he is aiming to wipe out the federal
budget deficit by 2015, in time for the next election, but
cautioned the Conservative government would be flexible with
that target if the economy soured.
"It remains our intention to balance the budget during this
session of Parliament," Flaherty said in the prepared text of a
speech he was delivering in Toronto.
"Although we are prepared to be flexible and pragmatic
should circumstances warrant -- our plan is to stick to our
plan: balanced budgets and low taxes," he said.
The parliamentary session is due to end in October 2015, the
same month a federal election is scheduled.
Last week, Flaherty presented a fiscal update that showed a
return to balanced budgets in 2016-17, including a C$3 billion
($3 billion) contingency cushion in case the global economy
But three days later, amid criticism, both he and Prime
Minister Stephen Harper were at pains to say they still intended
to end the red ink by 2015.
Flaherty said the government would not only continue to
restrict spending but would make some investments as well.
"We're also bringing forward targeted and modest investments
today to grow the economy and help the private sector create
more good jobs," he said.
His next budget in early 2013 will continue to promote
previously-announced projects in venture capital and skills
training and "much more," he said, without giving details.