CHARLOTTETOWN, Prince Edward Island, June 13 (Reuters) – Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty reiterated on Sunday he expects to eliminate the country’s deficit without cutting payments to lower levels of government.
Canada has the strongest finances among the Group of Seven industrialized countries and Flaherty forecast in March that the budget would be in surplus by 2015-16, provided all went according to plan. [ID:nN04184327]
Canada’s independent budget officer has disagreed and said the government may need to do more to balance the books, including expanding spending cuts. [ID:nN11223706]
“Our balanced budget goal will be met without reducing federal transfers to provinces and territories or transfers to individuals,” Flaherty told reporters, reiterating a pledge he first made last year.
He spoke ahead of a meeting with his provincial counterparts that is also expected to address the issue of pension reform.
Flaherty plans to press provincial finance ministers to support his plan for a “modest, phased-in and fully funded” expansion of benefits under the public pension plan, as well as ideas to promote increased private savings. [ID:nN11143528] (Writing by Jeffrey Hodgson; Editing by Marguerita Choy)