Canada to bring in law ensuring federal budget must balance, barring crises


OTTAWA, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Canada's Conservative governmentpromised on Wednesday to introduce new legislation that willrequire balanced budgets except during economic crises, andrenewed a pledge to balance its books by 2015.

In a speech setting out priorities for the second half ofits mandate, the government said it would freeze the federaloperating budget and make further targeted cuts to internalgovernment spending.

The government will also:

- Target a debt to GDP ratio of 25 percent in 2021 andreduce that ratio to pre-recession levels by 2017

- Invest C$70 billion ($68 billion) in infrastructure overthe next decade

- Review federal assets and sell them when it is in the bestinterest of Canadians

- Require rail shippers to carry more insurance and takesteps to increase the safety of the transportation of dangerousgood

- Ensure natural resource sectors remain open to foreigninvestment "when it is market-oriented and in the long-terminterests of Canadians"

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