Canada column for Sunday, Nov. 25/12
THE CANADIAN REPORT
(c) By Jim Fox
Canadians need not be concerned about any tax increases or “risky new spending schemes” in the next federal budget.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty made the comments, saying the Conservative government is moving toward its goal to balance the budget by 2015.
Budget consultations with provincial leaders are to begin in the coming days as the latest figures show a deficit of $26 billion.
That’s an increase of $5 billion from a forecast last March and is blamed on global economic weakness that has cut into commodity prices and tax revenues.
Both Flaherty and Prime Minister Stephen Harper insist the government can still balance the budget in the next two years.
The government is trying to strike a balance between reducing spending, maintaining an “appropriate tax base” and including measures to stimulate economic growth, Flaherty said.
There will be no reductions in federal payments for education and health care while spending for such things as programs for seniors, people with disabilities and children will remain untouched, he added.