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Morneau to outline plan to boost business competitiveness in fiscal update

Morneau to outline plan to boost business competitiveness in fiscal update

Finance Minister Bill Morneau will deliver an update on the country’s finances today and outline his plan to keep Canada competitive as the U.S. takes bold steps to lure investment and boost business growth.

Morneau is expected to stress that Canada’s economy is strong overall — but faces competitive challenges from the deep tax cuts and regulatory reforms brought in by U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration.

Business groups have been pressing the federal government to cut tax rates. The government is expected instead to opt for targeted reforms meant to boost productivity, such as better tax incentives for companies that buy new equipment and invest in productivity.

Morneau will deliver his update at 4 p.m. in the House of Commons; opposition leaders will offer their reactions afterward. CBCNews.ca will carry it all live.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today his government has been working hard to grow the economy and its efforts are showing “real results.”

“We’re going to continue our plan to help the middle class and those working hard to join it and support businesses as we move forward,” he said.

Trudeau said today’s statement will be focused on boosting competitiveness and reaping benefits from trade deals signed and advanced in recent years.

There are also signs the statement will offer support for struggling media companies, measures to boost trade between Canadian provinces and efforts to diversify international markets beyond the U.S.

The Conservatives have been pressing the Liberals for a timeline on returning the federal budget to balance. Today’s fiscal update is not expected to offer a target date for eliminating the deficit.

The Liberals’ 2015 election campaign platform promised to clear the deficit by 2019 and to refrain from deficits higher than $10 billion — but this year’s budget forecast a deficit of about $18.1 billion for this fiscal year.

Today’s statement sets the stage for next year’s critical federal budget — the Trudeau government’s last before the 2019 election campaign.

CBC News Network will have special coverage of Morneau’s statement starting at 4 p.m. ET, followed by a special edition of Power & Politics from 5-7 p.m. ET.

With files from the CBC’s David Cochrane

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