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Canada okays opposition budget amendment

OTTAWA, Jan 29 – Canada\’s Conservative government welcomed Wednesday an opposition amendment to the budget, breaking an impasse over stimulus spending that threatened to bring it down and force fresh elections.

"I\’m very pleased to state that the government will be supporting the Liberal amendment to the budget," Conservative House of Commons leader Jay Hill said.

To avert a fourth election in five years, the Liberals had demanded the government inform Parliament about the implementation and costs of the budget, which includes a massive economic stimulus package, in March, in June and in December.

"We are very pleased as well that the Liberals have decided to support our budget. We look forward to working cooperatively with them," Hill added.

On Tuesday, the government said the public finances would plunge into the red for the first time in 11 years to pay for a hefty economic stimulus promised to Canada\’s Group of 20 partners and demanded by opposition parties.

The announced 40 billion Canadian dollar (33 billion dollars) stimulus package amounts to a 1.9 percent boost in economic activity in 2009 and 1.4 percent next year.

But it will result in a 1.1 billion dollar budget deficit for the fiscal year ending in March and a 64 billion dollar (52 billion US) budget deficit over the next two fiscal years, the government said.

Canada is now not expected to see another surplus until 2014. Its last deficit, in 1996, was 8.9 billion dollars (7.2 billion US).

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