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Finance Minister in Calgary to talk about economy
Published Friday, January 15, 2016 5:13AM MST
Last Updated Friday, January 15, 2016 6:32PM MST
The federal finance minister is wrapping up a week of pre-budget consultations and was in Calgary on Friday to meet with business leaders to talk about the state of Canada's economy.
Bill Morneau spoke to Calgary's Chamber of Commerce and met with Mayor Naheed Nenshi and students at the University of Calgary to discuss the Liberal's plan to increase infrastructure over the next few years.
"We do agree that we should be making significant investments in infrastructure and we're going to be moving forward on those plans. We're going to do it in a responsible way that ensures every project we take on not only has potentially short-term impacts but important long-term impacts that can improve our economy," he said.
On Friday the Canadian dollar traded at a loss for the 11th straight day and analysts say it could go even lower in the coming weeks.
Calgary is Morneau’s latest stop before the federal budget is announced, likely in March.
"What I'm hearing from people in Alberta is a real concern over the changing economic situation in Alberta so when people are concerned they ask questions about every policy level that might be able to make a difference. I want to hear those voices. I was really pleased to hear the voices from the oil and gas sector. I was pleased to hear from the Chamber of Commerce.
Member of the Chamber of Commerce told Morneau that creating better infrastructure investment opportunities and making the oil and gas industry more competitive should be the focus when the government considers economic stimulus measures.
On Thursday, on a stop in Manitoba, Morneau said the Liberals’ stimulus plan is very important.
"With the slowing of the economy, we believe it's doubly important that we take the correct actions to help Canadians to do better," Morneau said.
"We're playing close attention to the price of oil, and of course that has an important impact on the Canadian dollar, which we're also paying close attention to. In that context, we know that it's doubly important that we think about how we can make investments that have an impact on the economy ... and also think about how we can improve our long-term effectiveness as a country and to increase our long-term rate of growth."
During the campaign, the Liberals promised an extra $5B in infrastructure spending in each of the first two years in office, and then $3.4B in the following two years of the mandate.
The spending, Morneau says, will promote growth and create jobs.
However, there are few details about the plan so far, and he says he is continuing to meet with Premiers as the budget is prepared.
But he insists that the economy needs to be improved for the long-term.
Morneau gave no indication the worsening economy threatens the Liberal government's list of promises -- everything from ending boil-water advisories in First Nation communities to cutting middle-class taxes.
(With files from the Canadian Press)