Flaherty expects bigger surplus

The federal budget surplus could be bigger than predicted in 2015, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said in an interview aired Sunday.

OTTAWA — The federal budget surplus could be bigger than predicted in 2015, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said in an interview aired Sunday.

The assessment falls in line with projections from the parliamentary budget office that came a month ago.

A Dec. 5 report from the PBO estimated the government could achieve a surplus of $4.6 billion by 2015, nearly $1 billion more than the estimate included in the November economic update.

In an interview with CTV’s Question Period, Flaherty said Canada could have a bigger surplus than projected if both the domestic and U.S. economies continue to gain strength.

“We could have a larger surplus than we anticipate, but we will have a surplus,” said Flaherty.

The Harper Conservatives are relying on balancing the books to help propel the party through a federal election campaign that’s scheduled for the fall of 2015.

The PBO report, however, prefaced its surplus projections on expectations that the government would maintain EI premiums at current levels, that there would be no delays in selling off some public assets and that spending restraints would continue.

And that is exactly what the government expects to do, said Flaherty.

The government has frozen basic EI premium rates at $1.88 for every $100 earned until 2016.

As well, it has announced the sell off of some assets, including the Ridley Terminals and Dominion Coal Blocks in British Columbia and the government’s remaining stock of General Motors shares.

Flaherty said the government would also continue cutting spending to eliminate the budget deficit in time for the 2015-16 fiscal year.

“We’re controlling our own departmental spending,” the minister said, adding that his government will not reduce transfers to the provinces or cut programs or benefits.

Flaherty also backed away from recent concerns over the levels of personal debt held by Canadians, telling CTV that moves to shore up mortgage rules have kept housing debt loads in check.

“The (housing) market is calming somewhat, so I’m less concerned than I was,” he said.

“And when you look at debt to net worth, as long as the housing market remains relatively strong, we don’t really have a debt issue.”

However, Flaherty maintained that he would intervene to further tighten mortgage rules if the market needed further cooling.

Just Posted

BREAKING: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Ways to prevent a kitchen fire

Fire prevention officer releases safety tips

The cost of flushing sanitary wipes is brought to Red Deer city council

More public education is needed about what not to flush down toilets

WATCH: Rebels play floor hockey with Annie L. Gaetz students

The Rebels may be on a losing streak but they were definitely… Continue reading

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Central Albertans recall Hawaii’s false missile alert

Former Red Deer councillor Paul Harris was hanging out at the Ka’anapali… Continue reading

This robotic maid takes us one step closer to ‘The Jetsons’

Imagine this: You’re rushing to get ready for work — juggling emails,… Continue reading

Milan line offers canine couture for pampered pooches

Milan has long been the world’s ready-to-wear fashion leader. Now, dogs are… Continue reading

Kim Kardashian West and husband Kanye welcome baby girl

NEW YORK — It’s a girl for Kim Kardashian West and her… Continue reading

Advocate poll takers oppose plastic bag ban

Red Deer Advocate readers like their plastic bags. In an Advocate poll,… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month