08/28/2015 12:31 EDT | Updated 08/28/2016 05:59 EDT

Federal Budget Surplus Shows Government Plan Is Working: Harper

OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Stephen Harper has put on his prime minister's hat and seized on the latest government finance data as proof that his government's economic plan is working.

The Department of Finance's monthly Fiscal Monitor reports a $5-billion surplus for the April-to-June period this year.

In a "statement from the prime minister" released today by the Conservative party, Harper says the numbers show that his Conservative government is ahead of the game on its budget plan.

The report says the federal government posted a surplus of nearly $1.1 billion for June alone, half a billion less than in the same month last year.

Federal program spending increased by $1.6 billion from a year ago to $21.3 billion in June, partly due to the universal child care benefit, but the rise was offset in part by a drop in public debt charges.

Harper has been urging voters to stick with his program of lower taxes and a balanced budget, while scorning his opponents as spendthrifts who will raise taxes and upset the economy.

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