By The Canadian Press
MONTREAL - Finance Minister Joe Oliver says he s concerned that provincial governments and Canada s global allies will take the pedal off efforts to reduce budgetary deficits and debt.
The minister reminded an international economic conference that Canada will post a billion surplus in 2015-2016 but said the average budgetary deficit among G-7 countries is 5.9 per cent of gross domestic product.
He applauded Quebec s recent restraint budget and, on the even of an Ontario election, called on that province to make a similar move.
Ontario s Progressive Conservatives are promising deep cuts in public sector jobs if elected, but Oliver says he s not trying to intervene in the June 12 vote.
Oliver says the eventual rise in interest rates and potential downgrades by credit rating agencies present an inescapable mathematical calculation by causing debt payment costs to balloon.
However, the minister says he not concerned that fiscal restraint by the two largest provinces will provoke a national economic slowdown, saying acting responsibly won t be a drag.
The former natural resources minister also pitched to more than 3,000 delegates the large oil and natural gas reserves in Western Canada that can be exported to Europe and Asia, if Canadian pipelines are built.
However, Oliver declined to say if the cabinet will soon approve the Northern Gateway project that would allow oil to be exported from British Columbia to Asian markets.
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