Federal budget won't be balanced in 2014, Flaherty confirms
Published Friday, February 7, 2014 11:46AM EST
Last Updated Friday, February 7, 2014 8:41PM EST
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said he will not be presenting a balanced budget next week in Ottawa, as the Conservatives look to “stay the course” into 2015.
Flaherty spoke to reporters Friday morning at a Toronto store, where he made his annual pre-budget shoe purchase.
It’s tradition for Canadian finance ministers to wear new shoes when they deliver a budget.
Flaherty said the primary function of the upcoming budget, expected to be unveiled on Tuesday, is to make sure the government doesn’t “waver from the path” of fiscal responsibility.
“If we really forced the numbers, we might be able to get close to a balanced budget,” he said. “I’ve never been a believer in that.
“I think when we balance, which will be next year, we need to have the confidence of the Canadian people that we are clearly balanced, without question.”
Flaherty did not provide much detail on what Canadians can expect to see in the budget, though he did say the government will maintain a $3-billion risk fund.
“We need to do that because things happen, it’s a big country,” he said, pointing out that last summer’s floods in Alberta cost taxpayers $3 billion.
Flaherty also commented on numbers released Friday morning by Statistics Canada that showed the economy gained more than 29,000 jobs in January.
“The trend is good and this is comforting as we plan the budget and plan modest, steady job growth in Canada,” he said.
Statistics Canada reported that in January, the unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 7.0 per cent, as the number of full-time jobs increased.
Flaherty purchased his footwear at Mellow Walk Footwear in Toronto.