Conservatives are still promising to balance the budget by 2015, just in time for the next federal election.
But just don't expect them to hit that goal any sooner.
UPDATE: Flaherty announced in question period on Monday that he will hand down the spring budget on Tuesday, February 11 at exactly 4 p.m.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty told reporters Monday that he will balance the budget by next year without raising taxes or cutting transfers to provinces.
But the minister stopped short of telling journalists the date of the next federal budget, expected in February, saying only that the date would be announced later Monday.
And while Flaherty was coy about what the document will contain, he did play down the notion that there may be some big-ticket goodies coming, saying spending will have to wait until the books are balanced.
It's expected that a better balance sheet in 2015 will allow the government to pay for some long-promised campaign plums, including income splitting for tax purposes.
Tories returning to work in Ottawa after a six-week break also made it clear the government's focus remains the economy and the spending plan.
"The cornerstone of our agenda in Parliament will be the budget," Tory House leader Peter Van Loan said. "Canadians can count on our government to build upon our strong record of creating jobs, keeping taxes low and returning to budgetary balance."
Many are suggesting the spending plan will drop in mid-February, when Canadians will be focused on the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Tories have already moved to eradicate an estimated $17.9 billion deficit by selling embassies, closing libraries, eliminating public sector jobs and leaving billions of dollars unspent.
With files from The Canadian Press
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