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Big surplus, no new spending

Finance Minister Joe Oliver says the federal government could have more than $9 billion in surplus to play with next year, but Canadians shouldn't expect any massive new spending programs.

The minister told an Ottawa news conference that the Harper government has worked too hard over the past several years to win the war on the deficit to blow it with major new policy measures.

The $9-billion figure includes a $3-billion contingency fund and a $6.4 billion surplus projected for the 2015-16 financial year.

Oliver also says he intends to go ahead with his predecessor's plan to create a national securities regulator and said draft legislation will be tabled soon.

Only Ontario and British Columbia have so far publicly signed on to the federal plan, but Oliver says there has been progress behind the scenes.

He says the initiative will still be voluntary, however, meaning provinces can sign up or remain out of the new regime.

The Canadian Press

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