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Finance minister tells Halifax business audience not to link budget to election

Finance Minister Bill Morneau delivers a speech at the Economic Club of Canada in Ottawa on Wednesday, March 20, 2019. Morneau told a Halifax business audience today that they shouldn't think of this week's budget as an election document. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

HALIFAX — Finance Minister Bill Morneau told a Halifax business audience today that they shouldn’t think of this week’s federal budget as an election document.

In remarks to the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, Morneau said that if there was anything the government did in the budget that was a surprise then “you haven’t been watching us for the last four years.”

Morneau also continued to make the case for more spending, saying now is “exactly the wrong time” to balance the budget quickly.

He says to do so would bring higher unemployment and bigger economic problems.

Morneau said the Liberal government’s goal is to spend while reducing the amount of debt as a function of the economy.

Tuesday’s budget projects a deficit in 2019-20 of $19.8 billion.

The Canadian Press