02/12/2014 09:29 EST | Updated 04/14/2014 05:59 EDT

Jim Flaherty backs away from income-splitting promise

Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty suggested today that he no longer supports bringing in income splitting for couples with children, telling an Ottawa business community — a day after he brought down the federal budget — that it only helps some families.

The promise to introduce income splitting was a major part of the Conservatives' 2011 election campaign and was tied to bringing the budget back into balance, something they'll have achieved a year from now.

"It's an interesting idea. I'm just one voice. It benefits some parts of the Canadian population a lot. And other parts of the Canadian population virtually not at all," Flaherty told reporters following an event in Ottawa.

"And I like to think I'm analytical as finance minister, so I will, when we discuss it eventually in cabinet, in caucus, I will present my analysis to my colleagues."

Flaherty delivered his 10th federal budget Tuesday, one that put him within the margin of error of balancing the books a year ahead of schedule.

Updated figures in the budget show the Conservatives with a $2.9-billion deficit, just within the $3-billion contingency Flaherty has built in in case of major blows to Canada’s economy. The Finance Department upgraded its projected surplus for next year to $6.4 billion from $3.7 billion.