Federal government still pledging balanced budget despite oil prices

WATCH ABOVE: While some sectors of the economy are threatened by weak oil prices and a low dollar, other sectors see opportunities. Ted Chernecki reports.

VANCOUVER, B.C. – Federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver says the government still plans to balance the budget and keep its commitments despite the collapse of oil prices.

Oliver’s remarks follow recent expert warnings that the steep slide in crude prices could erase the government’s projected $1.6 billion surplus for the 2015-16 fiscal year.

READ MORE: Low oil prices and U.S. rebound could help B.C.’s economy

Since the government’s surplus prediction last fall, oil prices have fallen from US$80 per barrel to below US$50.

Speaking to reporters in Vancouver on Wednesday, Oliver said his department will re-calculate the impact of low oil prices on federal finances after his upcoming meetings with private-sector economists.

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The federal government is preparing its 2015 election-year budget.

Earlier this week, TD Bank predicted the rapid fall in oil prices would turn the Harper government’s long-promised 2015-16 surplus into a deficit.

“We remain confident that we can in fact balance the budget and we will do so,” Oliver said.

“The commitments we have made, we will honour.”

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