Finance minister to address local business leaders at post-budget breakfast

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Finance Minister Bill Morneau will address local business leaders the morning after he delivers this month’s federal budget.

Bill Morneau is Canada's finance minister.

Mr. Morneau will deliver the keynote at the 2016 Post-Budget Breakfast, an annual co-presentation of the Ottawa Business Journal and the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson.

The March 23 breakfast, to be held at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, is meant to give local business leaders an in-depth analysis of the budget. It will begin at 7 a.m., with a technical presentation from MNP followed by Mr. Morneau’s address.

There will be a lot to address, if the latest analysis by TD Bank is any indication.

It says the federal government is on track to run $150 billion in budgetary deficits over the next five years.

TD also estimates the Liberal's current fiscal path means it will take more than a decade to bring the budget back into balance – unless the government raises taxes or cuts spending.

The bank says it produced the numbers after re-calculating the government's predicted shortfalls to account for the Liberal government's electoral spending vows and TD's below-consensus outlook for economic growth.

The Liberals are projecting a shortfall of at least $18.4 billion next year – a deficit that's widely expected to climb closer to $30 billion in the March 22 budget.

The federal government's recent fiscal projection didn't factor in billions in Liberal spending commitments – a sizable chunk of which is likely to fund infrastructure projects that will help boost the struggling economy.

The Liberals had vowed to cap upcoming deficits at $10 billion and to balance the books in four years – a pledge they have been backing away from while citing the sliding economy.

In releasing a fiscal update last week, Mr. Morneau insisted the government's starting point was “much further back” than the Liberals thought.

Mr. Morneau's calculations, primarily based on the estimates of private-sector forecasters, included an additional $6 billion per year for economic prudence that the government argued was necessary to account for risk.

Registration for the 2016 Post-Budget Breakfast can be completed at the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce website.

with files from the Canadian Press


Organizations: Ottawa Chamber of Commerce, Ottawa Business Journal, Fairmont Chateau Laurier TD Bank

Geographic location: Ottawa

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