OLIVER PROMISES BALANCED FEDERAL BUDGET THIS ELECTION YEAR DESPITE OIL PRICE PLUNGE

Jan 15, 2015

By Jane Brown

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Despite a 55 percent plunge in oil prices since June, Finance Minister Joe Oliver is promising to stick with his plan to balance the federal budget for the coming fiscal year.

A report from TD Bank earlier this week warned that the steep slide in crude prices could erase the government’s projected $1.6-billion surplus for the 2015-16 fiscal year, and turn it into a deficit.

Oliver did not outline exactly how oil prices would be estimated in the upcoming budget, but he indicated his numbers will count on a rebound in oil prices.

Observers say Finance Canada officials are likely facing pressure behind the scenes to produce a budget that delivers on the Conservative government’s balanced budget promise during this election year, even though lower oil prices make achieving that goal more difficult.

Oil rose almost $2.60 in New York yesterday to close at $48.48 US a barrel.

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