Flaherty, PMO sound noncommittal note on future of balanced-budget promises

The Conservative government is refusing to talk about three other campaign promises from 2011 that were contingent on a balanced budget, saying it’s too early to talk about what they might do with a surplus.

OTTAWA — The Conservative government is refusing to talk about three other campaign promises from 2011 that were contingent on a balanced budget, saying it’s too early to talk about what they might do with a surplus.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty created a stir this week when he raised doubts about the promise to allow income splitting for couples with children under 18. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, it seems, shares his reservations.

But Flaherty and the Prime Minister’s Office also won’t say what will happen to three other promises that hinged on getting back to black — doubling the contribution limits on tax-free savings accounts from $5,000 to $10,000, doubling the child fitness tax credit and introducing a tax credit for adult fitness activities.

Flaherty was noncommittal when asked specifically about the other promises at an event Friday in North Vancouver, B.C.

“There are going to be choices next year; there is going to be a surplus — it should be a substantial surplus, $6, $7 billion — and in addition we have a risk-management fund which we maintain every year,” Flaherty said.

“So there will be surplus funds next year and decisions will be made then.”

That’s a much different response from just last fall, when Flaherty’s office was asked about the promised $500 adult fitness tax credit.

It said then that the government was “committed to introducing the adult fitness tax credit once we return to balanced budgets in 2015.”

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