BUSINESS

Joe Oliver Says He'll Balance Budget Despite Falling Oil Prices, Dip In GDP

10/31/2014 08:30 EDT | Updated 12/31/2014 05:59 EST
CP
Neither falling oil prices, today’s disappointing GDP numbers, nor the $2.4-billion cost of the new income-splitting and baby bonus programs announced yesterday will prevent the federal government from balancing the budget in 2015, according to Finance Minister Joe Oliver.

In an interview with CBC’s The Exchange with Amanda Lang, Oliver said the Harper government has planned for the headwinds currently buffeting the Canadian economy.

“Bottom line, we are very confident we are going to have a surplus. We can afford the measures we’ve taken and we’ll be able to take others,” he said.

In the lead-up to a 2015 federal election, the government is keen to show the voters some love and announced an income-splitting program for parents and enhanced baby bonus Thursday.

But the economy is not looking as strong as it could, with GDP shrinking by 0.1 per cent in August.

“I do expect it to improve because the U.S. economy, I think most people would agree, is moving ahead. It’s steady and it’s sustainable and that is bound to have a positive impact on the Canadian economy,” Oliver said.

“What we’re waiting for is for confidence to come back to Canadian companies, and they’ll start spending all the cash they have sitting there at almost no interest,” he said.

That will help create Canadian jobs, Oliver said.

He said he’s not worried about oil prices, which have fallen by 20 per cent since July.

“It’s something we’re watching, obviously because falling oil prices do impact oil companies, they impact our royalties. On the other hand they advantage a lot of manufacturing companies and consumers so it has a balanced effect,” Oliver said.

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