OTTAWA — Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau suggests he has no plans to provide a timetable for returning Ottawa’s books to balance — even with a scorching economy.Morneau credited the strong economic performance to the Trudeau government’s strategy to run deficits, which helped it finance measures such as lower income-tax rates for middle earners and enhanced child benefits.Moving forward, he said Tuesday that Ottawa intended to pursue its plan to invest more than $180 billion into infrastructure over the next 11 years. That spending is projected to contribute to annual, multibillion-dollar shortfalls across Ottawa’s five-year budgetary outlook — and perhaps beyond.Morneau’s remarks outside a cabinet retreat in St. John’s came after months of impressive economic data, including a recent report showing growth expanded at an annualized rate of 4.5 per cent in the second quarter.“We find ourselves in this positive position because of the economic approach we’ve taken,” he told reporters after being asked if the improved fiscal outlook meant he’d produce a timeline to eliminate the deficit in his fall economic update.“We’re going to continue down that path and we’re going to do it in a fiscally responsible way.”The Liberals’ deficit track has faced criticism.Conservative opponents have long been critical about the government’s plan to add to the federal debt to fund new measures, while some economists have urged Ottawa to limit fiscal uncertainty by mapping out a plan to return to balance.More recently, experts have also warned that Ottawa should consider delaying its nearer-term infrastructure investments to avoid the risk of overheating the already-sizzling economy.The economy’s surprisingly powerful start to the year is expected to improve the federal bottom line outlined in the government’s March budget.At the time, Morneau forecasted a $28.5-billion deficit for 2017-18, including a $3-billion accounting adjustment for risk.A new analysis released this week by a University of Ottawa think tank predicts the deficit is on track to be about $6.5 billion smaller this year. The shortfall is set to shrink thanks to an economic expansion that easily topped federal projections, said the Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy.The think tank, led by former parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page, also said there’s “little doubt” the federal measures, such as increased child benefits and early infrastructure spending, have contributed to Canada’s improved economic performance.Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre said the Liberals were fortunate to have inherited a solid financial situation from the Harper government and to enjoy the benefits of a strengthening U.S. economy.Poilievre said the government should balance the books now while the “going’s good.”If not, he warned that rising interest rates will leave households and the government increasingly indebted. Over time, the higher rates will also gradually boost Ottawa’s debt-servicing costs, he added.“Now is the time to balance the budget and strengthen our finances, rather than continuing to pile on new debt,” Poilievre said Tuesday in an interview.Morneau insisted Tuesday that, since taking office, the government’s approach has put more disposable income in consumers’ pockets, which they’ve put back into the economy.On infrastructure, Morneau said Ottawa would stick with the spending strategy because it’s designed to lift the economy over the long term.To guide the government’s deficit decisions, he added it would keep its focus on the country’s debt-to-GDP ratio — a measure of the public debt burden.The government has promised to lower the ratio over the Liberal mandate and views it as a so-called fiscal anchor, rather than eliminating the deficit.“We expect that we’ll be able to do even better than we might have thought in the past, in terms of our ability to manage that,” Morneau said of the ratio.“That will be our continuing measurement tool.”The Liberals won the 2015 election on a platform that pledged to invest billions in infrastructure and child benefits as a way to re-energize the economy. They had promised annual shortfalls would not surpass $10 billion during the first couple years of their mandate and to return to balance by 2019-20.However, a few months after taking office the government abandoned those vows, citing a weaker-than-expected economy.Follow @AndyBlatchford on Twitter

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first_imgFans of Game of Thrones can’t seem to get enough of series star Peter Dinklage — and that’s why, with the hit series’ fourth season now underway, PETA is launching the Emmy Award–winning actor’s new video exposé of the meat, egg, and dairy industries.And although fans may relish the bloody battle scenes in Game of Thrones, they may be shocked by the violence revealed in Dinklage’s “Face Your Food,” a follow-up to Paul McCartney’s Glass Walls and Alec Baldwin’s “Meet Your Meat” videos.“The images that you’re about to see might make you want to turn away, but this is what you pay for every time you buy meat, eggs, and dairy products,” Dinklage begins in the video short, which debuted last week on PETA.org. “That’s why tens of millions of kind people just in the United States alone have decided to leave animal products off their plates for good.”And Dinklage is one of them: He first went vegetarian at the age of 16, and he credits his dad with helping him make that decision. “My father was a big influence on me in terms of having a great respect for nature at a young age,” he says in an exclusive video interview with PETA. And Dinklage adds that over the years, it’s gotten easier to find vegan food. “There’s so many more organic markets, soy products, restaurants,” he says. “It truly is less expensive and very easy to find.”“As you’ve seen here,” concludes Dinklage in the exposé, “by buying meat, eggs, and dairy products, you’re paying for cruelty. Please make the kind choice.”Source:PETAlast_img

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – In the 2015 provincial election, the New Democratic Party (NDP) campaigned on the promise to increase Alberta’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.On Oct. 1, 2018, the provincial government made that campaign promise a reality and received backlash from the service industry.READ MORE: Mixed reactions to Alberta’s minimum wage hikeSince Premiere Rachel Notley called the Provincial election the United Conservative Party (UCP) has come out and said that if they are voted into power, then they will institute a price differential for those under the age of 18.President and CEO of the Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association Dave Kaiser told 660 NEWS that the minimum wage is a sort of deterrent for businesses to hire young employees, because companies do not see the same outcome from their investment.“At the end of the day in business with margins tight, whatever your payout in wages and benefits, you need to be able to get the investment back in productivity,” Kaiser said.He said that it makes sense for there to be a different minimum wage for youth because most are living at home without needing to support themselves.“They would benefit by having access to just part-time work, to have some spending money, and more importantly build those skills to help with their career in the future.”Restaurants Canada’s Vice President of Western Canada Mark von Schellwitz agrees with Kaiser’s statements on the issue, adding that one of the most alarming things to him is how youth participation in the workforce has come down to some of the lowest levels in history. READ MORE: Labour leaders welcome Alberta minimum wage increase“What this means is that those under the age of 18 are so discouraged they aren’t even looking for jobs,” Schellwitz said.He explains that more money is put into training youth in the restaurant industry because they need more assistance and guidance from more experienced employees as they start their career.“What happens with restaurants in an employment declining situation, they are going to hold onto their most experienced staff first, and there isn’t that same incentive to bring in fresh new people.”Schellwitz believes that putting in a differential for minimum wage also makes sense because it is a common practice in other provinces across the countries and other countries around the world.“A lot of trades and even union agreements in Alberta already have apprenticeship training wages, that say while you are in that training mode we are going to be paying you slightly less,” Schellwitz said. “The understanding is once you gain more experience and have the same amount of knowledge as your colleagues then you will make the same.”Both Keiser and Schellwitz are open to seeing what all the political parties bring to the table when it comes to this issue, but at the moment both believe that a pay differential is the best option.“Our position on this is to encourage a wage differential for young or inexperienced workers, so if the UCP wants to move forward with that then we would be very supportive of it,” Kaiser said.

Rabat – Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, has reiterated Washington’s unflinching support for Morocco, saying the North African country is an indispensable US ally in the fight for security and stability in the MENA region.In a statement shared on the Department of State’s website on July 30, which marked 20 years since the coronation of King Mohammed VI, the American official congratulated the Moroccan King on the advances realized in various sectors.“On behalf of the Government of the United States of America, I offer congratulations to His Majesty King Mohammed VI and the Moroccan people as you celebrate Throne Day on July 30,” Pompeo said. The statement emphasized the significance of Morocco for the US’ ambitions in the MENA region, pointing out that Washington is poised to continue collaborating with Rabat to achieve their shared goals in the region. Those goals, the statement noted, have to do with “expanding security cooperation, deepening cultural and educational ties, and promoting economic opportunities.” According to Pompeo, Rabat and Washington have a “shared vision” for stability and prosperity in Africa and the larger Middle East. He said: “In the spirit of the longstanding friendship between our people and governments, we look forward to strengthening our relationship in the years to come. Ours is a strategic partnership based on our work to advance our shared vision of a secure, stable, and prosperous North Africa and Middle East.”Read also: Donald Trump: US and Morocco Still Have a Lot to Accomplish TogetherPompeo’s congratulations to the Moroccan King came after President Trump’s, who sent his Throne Day message to the monarch on the eve of the celebration and noted that Morocco will remain a US ally in many areas, including security, anti-extremism, and trade. In his message, Trump also highlighted “the fight against extremism in all its forms” as well as policy priorities for Africa as some of the “most notable” areas of the US-Morocco relations. Trump said, however, that the two countries “still have a lot to accomplish together.”

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