Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Finance Minister Joe Oliver addresses a Canadian Club luncheon in Toronto April 7, 2014.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

In his first speech since becoming Finance Minister, Joe Oliver told a Toronto audience Monday that tax relief will be the government's priority once the budget is balanced.

Observers have been questioning what Ottawa would do with the surplus that it projects for next year, which will be its first since 2007-08.

Options include reducing the debt, reducing taxes, or new spending.

Story continues below advertisement

"Once the budget is balanced our priority will be to provide tax relief for hard working Canadian families," Mr. Oliver said.

He remained mum on the thorny topic of income-splitting. The Conservatives promised the controversial tax measure during the 2011 election, but former Finance Minister Jim Flaherty voiced misgivings about it before he resigned in March. Mr. Oliver has been finance minister since March 19.

"We worked too hard to return to a balanced budget to throw it all away," Mr. Oliver said. "So do not expect a big stimulus program."

He noted that the government has projected a deficit of $2.9-billion this year, plus a cushion of $3-billion to adjust for emergencies, while for next year it is projecting a surplus of over $6-billion, plus the cushion.

After his speech, in response to audience questions, Mr. Oliver said it's too soon to give details on precisely how next year's surplus will be spent.

"This is a central question," he said. "It's too early to get into too many details, but obviously there are a number of alternatives."

He said there will be national debate on the precise balance between paying down the debt, cutting taxes and spending.

Story continues below advertisement

"We're going to of course be talking to people," he said.

"We need to discuss domestically the issue of the skills shortage, infrastructure and productivity and how that all is addressed in our fiscal framework," he added.

Much of his speech stressed the status quo. He talked about continuing to emphasize the key pillars of the government's current economic plan, which include having competitive tax rates, connecting people with jobs, responsibly developing natural resources, opening new markets for exports, and investing in research.

He spoke about the strength of Canada's economy compared to many of its peers, but also acknowledged that there is work to be done.

"Too many Canadians are looking for work," he said.

Mr. Oliver said one of his priorities is meeting with his various counterparts, and he has already met with the Governor of the Bank of Canada and spoken to the head of Canada's banking regulator, the Superintendent of Financial Institutions.

Story continues below advertisement

A main priority in the near term is pressing forward with the budget implementation act, he added.

"We'd like to get bipartisan or multipartisan support; we don't think we will," he said. Mr. Oliver said one of his priorities is meeting with his various counterparts, and he has already met with the Governor of the Bank of Canada and spoken to the head of Canada's banking regulator, the Superintendent of Financial Institutions.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies