Trudeau promotes spending to boost economy as economists warn of weak outlook


OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau is talking up the need for more federal spending to help the economy on a day experts are sharing their downgraded forecasts with his government.The prime minister says the country’s economic woes mean it’s more important than ever for the Liberal government to spend on growth-generating projects like infrastructure.Trudeau’s remarks in Toronto came shortly after a group of private-sector economists shared their downgraded forecasts with Finance Minister Bill Morneau at a meeting just a few kilometres away.A balanced budget by 2019/20 may be hard to come by if economy continues to struggle, Trudeau admitsOttawa talking to pension funds about investing in infrastructureFinance Minister Bill Morneau to present federal budget week of March 21: sourcesConference Board of Canada chief economist Glen Hodgson says he gave Morneau a 2016 growth forecast of just 1.7 per cent — one of the most optimistic predictions in the room.The Liberal government has promised to run deficits in the coming years in order to spend billions on stimulus like infrastructure projects, which it expects will create jobs and help revive the economy.But while Trudeau acknowledges government finances are even tighter than they were a couple of months ago, he has not indicated what will become of the Liberals’ many non-economic spending vows.For decades, federal finance ministers have used an average of private-sector economic forecasts as the foundation of their fiscal plans.

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