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Morneau meets with private sector economists to discuss fall outlook

Finance Minister Bill Morneau will meet with a group of private-sector economists Thursday to pick their brains about Canada’s economy as Ottawa is making decisions about its spending plans in the coming months.

Morneau will be seeking out the projections and opinions ahead of the government’s fall economic and fiscal update, which is expected in the coming weeks.

Jean-Francois Perrault, Scotiabank’s chief economist and a former senior Finance Department official under Morneau, plans to ask his old boss about something he says is lacking from the feds — a clear fiscal road map.

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Morneau will sit down with experts in Toronto to seek their projections and opinions ahead of the government’s fall economic and fiscal update, which is expected in the coming weeks. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

In last March’s federal budget, Ottawa outlined new spending plans aimed at helping the economy to grow. There was a focus on infrastructure projects, and that money is starting to roll out to projects deemed to be shovel-ready.

The spending splurge was forecast to add more than $110 billion to Canada’s public debt, beginning with a $29.4-billion deficit this year followed by smaller ones in the years to come.

TD Bank estimated in a report Thursday that this year’s deficit will come in $5 billion higher than forecasted in March, and as much as $16 billion higher than anticipated over the next five years.

Perrault thinks Ottawa should provide more information about its goals when it comes to the federal bottom line.

After meeting with economists, Morneau is scheduled to go to a Toronto-area high school later on Thursday to chat with students about recent Canada Pension Plan changes that will see them paying more towards their own retirement, but also hopefully getting more from their national pension plan when the time comes, too.

Article source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/bill-morneau-economists-1.3802924?cmp=rss