Flaherty hints at more cuts in 2013 budget
OTTAWA — While opposition MPs try to delay the government's 2012 budget implementation bill, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has set his calculator on next year's financial blueprint.
And if his speech at the Toronto Board of Trade is any indication, the government will look at further cuts to program spending at departments and agencies on top of those already weaving through the system, and taxes won't increase.
"We won't shy away from eliminating wasteful or ineffective spending," he said.
Flaherty also had a warning for special interest groups who will call for "more spending, a special tax break, a new program or bigger government."
He won't run up the deficit for their pet projects, especially at a time when global economic uncertainty is squeezing tax revenues.
In the March budget, Flaherty announced $5.2 billion in annual savings were found after reviewing $75 billion in direct program spending.
He said in an interview any cuts next year won't be as deep.
"The major thing is that we control spending. There will be some relatively minor spending reductions. I mean nothing of that magnitude in this budget," he said about the $5.2 billion. "We don't need to do it."
Earlier this month, the federal government used a fiscal update to give itself some wiggle room not to meet its promise to erase the deficit in 2015-16.
National consultations for the 2013 budget begin next week.