Canada charts return to balanced budget

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada’s new majority Conservative government unveiled a budget Monday that once again laid out a path for Canada to return to balancing its books.

The budget projects a deficit of C$32.3 billion ($33 billion) for the 2011-12 fiscal year, shrinking to C$19.4 billion in 2012-13, and C$300 million in 2014-15.

It did not account for C$11 billion that the government expects to trim from the budget over the next four years, which Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said would enable a balanced budget by 2014-15.

The lean-spending budget is largely similar to one the Conservatives presented in March but which never came to a vote before the government was toppled by the opposition.

The May 2 election gave the Conservatives a parliamentary majority, which assures the budget’s passage.

The budget pledges to avoid tax increases and wind down the stimulus spending the government had launched to counter the recession.

($1=$0.98 Canadian) (Reporting by Randall Palmer and David Ljunggren; with additional writing by Jeffrey Hodgson; editing by Peter Galloway)