Canada’s Oliver Concerned G-7 Losing Fiscal Resolve

Canadian Finance Minister Joe Oliver said he’s concerned Group of Seven countries may be losing their resolve to reduce deficits, potentially undermining the global economy.

Oliver, speaking to the Conference de Montreal, said fiscal prudence is necessary to bolster growth and called on the world’s largest economies not to abandon their commitments to rein in deficits.

“I am concerned, frankly, that we may slide back, back to deeper budgetary deficits and higher debt,” Oliver said, according to the prepared text of his remarks. “In these uncertain times, it is essential that governments achieve a solid fiscal grounding.”

While Oliver said Canada’s efforts to balance its budget are on track, a major challenge for the Canadian economy is building pipeline capacity to get more of the country’s landlocked oil to market.

“Market diversification has become an obvious and crucial strategic objective,” Oliver said. “Simply put, we need new customers.”

Oliver also said he’s concerned about the weak fiscal positions of Ontario and Quebec, Canada’s two biggest provinces. He called on the next government in Ontario to take a “serious commitment to growth and a balanced budget.” Canada’s most populous province holds elections June 12.

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