Deficits until 2015: Flaherty

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says Ottawa will run deficits for two years longer than originally forecast and the country will be in the red at least until 2015. As well, he said the deficit for this year will be over $5 billion more than originally thought, moving up to a projected $55.9 billion from $50.2 billion.

Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty speaks at the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce luncheon in Victoria Thursday.

VICTORIA — Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says Ottawa will run deficits for two years longer than originally forecast and the country will be in the red at least until 2015.

As well, he said the deficit for this year will be over $5 billion more than originally thought, moving up to a projected $55.9 billion from $50.2 billion.

Flaherty told an audience in Victoria that Canada is showing signs of a fragile economic recovery, but returning to balanced budgets will not be easy.

“It will require decisions of government that won’t always be popular or pain-free,” Flaherty said in a prepared speech.

“It will require a lot of saying ’no’ to pet projects and special interests.”

The federal deficit is projected to be down to $5.2 billion for the fiscal year 2014-2015.

Finance officials say economic conditions are improving, but remain volatile, making accurate projections difficult.

In the medium term, they said, the economy is weaker than forecast and Canada can expect larger and longer deficits.

Flaherty said in his speech the uncertain economic times mean the Liberal Opposition’s sabre rattling over an election is bad timing for the country.

“Now is not the time to put economic recovery at risk with political opportunism. This is not the time to create instability out of narrow, partisan self-interest,” he said.

“This is not the time to play political games.”

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