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Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Friday he is no closer to setting the date for the federal budget - but he put tax cheats on notice that it would soon be harder to hide money from the federal government.
In the face of falling revenues, Flaherty's officials are poking through the government playbook looking for tax loopholes to snap shut and fresh traps to set for Canadians who are ducking out of paying all their taxes, he said.
"Everybody should pay their fair share of taxes," he said. "We're looking at some tax policies that create inequalities and some actions regrettably by some who would evade their tax responsibilities."
NDP revenue critic Murray Rankin is glad to see Flaherty take aim at tax cheats but said "the proof will be in the pudding" as to how much revenue it will net.
Flaherty said the government would keep its spending in control and is on track to meet its goal of a balanced budget by 2015-16 despite falling commodity prices that are shrinking federal coffers.
He also promised no new stimulus spending, no cuts in transfers to the provinces and no new taxes in the upcoming fiscal plan.
After meeting with private-sector economists Friday in the lead up to the budget, Flaherty once again downplayed economic growth forecasts for 2013 to a tepid 1.3% to 1.5% of nominal GDP.
Growth is projected to pick up in 2014, with estimates ranging from 2.3% to 2.9%.