NEWS

Flaherty to deliver fall fiscal update today

11/12/2012 04:52 EST | Updated 01/12/2013 05:12 EST
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will update the nation today on the state of the economy.

Flaherty will deliver his fall economic and fiscal update in a speech in Fredericton.

Despite the U.S. election now being settled and Greece almost on track to emerge from financial crisis, it is expected the finance minister will again highlight the uncertainty in the global economy and the economic drag that it is causing in Canada.

Softening commodity prices are also pulling down government revenues, which will put a strain on the government's deficit-reduction time frame.

At the end of October, a survey of private sector economists predicted Canada's economy will grow by just two per cent next year, 0.4 percentage points lower than was presumed in the last budget.

According to the Finance department's own figures, that is likely to add about $1.5-billion to the expected deficit next year — although Flaherty insists he is on track to balance the budget in the medium-term.

He is expected to say the federal government is doing all it can to control the things it can — namely, government and program spending — while keeping a close eye on the things which it cannot: Europe's debt crisis and the looming "fiscal cliff" in the United States.

The fiscal cliff is a series of tax hikes and spending cuts totalling $600 billion that will come into effect automatically in the United States Jan. 1, unless U.S. President Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress reach an alternate agreement.

Economists fear those measures could plunge the country into another recession, and drag down Canada along with it.

The House of Commons is currently studying elements of Flaherty's second budget implementation bill and is expected to vote on the bill before MPs break for their Christmas vacation in mid-December.

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