Newspaper article The Canadian Press

--Nineteenth NewsWatch-

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

--Nineteenth NewsWatch-

Article excerpt

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(Fiscal-Update) (Audio: P07)

The red ink is flowing way faster than first thought.

Figures from the Finance Department indicate the federal budget deficit will be billions of dollars higher than projected this year and next.

The Liberals now forecast the deficit for the 12-month period that ends in March will rise to 26.6-billion-dollars, up from a prediction in the spring of just under 20-billion-dollars.

But, Finance Minister Bill Morneau says Canada will actually see its national debt reduced as a measure of the size of the economy.

The deeper deficit is largely driven by changes to how employee pensions and benefits are calculated and also accounts for a tax break that takes effect New Year's Day. (19)

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(Finance-Ministers)

The federal government appears open to changing the way it decides how much financial help cash-strapped provinces get.

Ottawa has already heard objections to how it calculates the amount of equalization payments for so-called have-not provinces and territories.

Alberta, Saskatchewan are among those pushing for Ottawa to expand a shorter-term federal program -- the fiscal stabilization program -- set up to help provinces dealing with sudden economic downturns.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau says it will depend on other concerns his provincial and territorial counterparts raise during a day-long meeting tomorrow (Tuesday).

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(USMCA-NDP)

The New Democrats want the minority Liberal government to provide regular reviews of the new NAFTA's impact once it takes effect and to overhaul the way future trade pacts are negotiated.

The requests come in a letter to Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, who last week signed a revised version of the agreement that must now be formally approved by Parliament.

That will require the minority Liberal government to gain the support of at least one opposition party. …

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