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Feds will give update on state of the economy before Christmas: Morneau

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Canadians will get an update on the state of the country’s economy before the holidays, according to Finance Minister Bill Morneau.

Morneau spoke with reporters in Ottawa during a media scrum about his plan to introduce a motion in the House of Commons on Monday that will lay the groundwork for legislation implementing the Liberal campaign promise to lower taxes for the middle class.

He was asked about a demand made by Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre on Sunday that the government issue a fiscal update amid warnings by economists about a potential recession as well as new job numbers that show Canada saw the largest monthly job drop last month since the Great Recession.

READ MORE: Conservatives call on Liberals to provide ‘urgent’ economic update

“Our plan is to have a fiscal update before Christmas so we can update Canadians on the state of the economy,” Morneau said.

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The federal government normally gives a fiscal update in the fall of each year, marking a rough midway point between budgets.

But with the timing of the election campaign, that did not happen this year.

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The House of Commons is only set to sit until the end of the week before breaking for its annual winter recess but already has a full agenda of business it needs to get through, including debate on the throne speech presented by the government last week.

Members of Parliament are scheduled to head back to their ridings after Dec. 13 and normally do not return to Ottawa until the end of January.

But fiscal updates do not need to be presented before the House of Commons immediately, so they could technically be presented next week or at any other point before Christmas in the form of a report from Finance Canada or similar avenues, for example.

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That would then need to be tabled once MPs return.

READ MORE: Liberal throne speech to seek common ground between opposition parties — sources

Morneau also tabled on Monday a ways and means motion to amend the Income Tax Act.

That lays the groundwork for the Liberals to introduce legislation that would implement their promised tax cut for the middle class.

That will work by raising the personal income tax exemption from $13,000 to $15,000 by 2023.

Morneau estimated that once implemented, the average individual would see about $300 in tax savings.

As a money matter, that motion will be considered a confidence vote, meaning the government must get the support from the majority of the members of the House of Commons in order to both pass the motion and stay in power.

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