Canada unveils plan for jobs, balanced budget

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada’s Conservative government will focus on jobs and growth while eliminating the federal budget deficit, it said on Friday as it unveiled a plan for the four-year mandate it won in last month’s election.

Freshly armed with a majority of seats in the House of Commons, the government said it would be able to balance the budget by 2014 without raising taxes.

The speech was delivered in the plush red Senate chamber by Governor General David Johnston, the representative in Canada of head of state, Queen Elizabeth.

“We will get back to work on the things that matter most to Canadians: good jobs, security for our families and a prosperous future,” Johnston said on behalf of the government.

Led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Conservatives have been in power since 2006 with two previous minority governments, which meant they needed opposition support to pass major legislation such as the budget. They were re-elected with a majority on May 2.

The government said it would continue to welcome foreign investment, but it did not detail when or how it might open the telecom sector to foreigners.

It cautioned that the global economy remains fragile, and said the aging workforce would put long-term pressure on the pension and health-care systems that must be addressed. (Reporting by Randall Palmer, David Ljunggren and Louise Egan; editing by Rob Wilson)