Feds to show smaller deficits in updated outlook, but no timeline to balance

Minister of Finance Bill Morneau stands during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 23, 2017.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA - The Trudeau government will release fresh projections Tuesday pointing to smaller-than-anticipated annual deficits in the years ahead.

But the government still isn't expected to provide a timeline to bring the federal books back to balance, despite the economy's surprisingly strong performance in early 2017.

A senior government official says the fall fiscal statement will show an improving outlook in the coming years, even though Ottawa will announce new measures alongside the updated predictions.

The official says the new policy measures will be aimed at providing tools for middle-income earners to continue contributing to the economy.

Experts are predicting the unexpected growth surge this year will provide the federal government with a windfall of around $10 billion in each of the next couple of years.

The Liberals are likely hoping the document contains enough good economic news to draw attention away from a conflict-of-interest controversy that has stalked Finance Minister Bill Morneau for about a week.

Last week, Morneau promised to sell at least $21 million worth of stock and place his other assets in a blind trust in hopes of quieting allegations about how he handled his personal fortune when he entered public office in 2015.

Opposition MPs have called on the ex-Bay Street executive to disclose whether he recused himself from making decisions on pension legislation that they allege will likely benefit his former human resources company, Morneau Shepell.

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