Canada's government posts a surplus for last year amid election campaign

Economic Indicators Associated Press

Canada has posted a budget surplus after six straight years of deficits.

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The government announced Monday a $1.9 billion Canadian (US$1.4 billion) surplus for last year. It had been predicting a $2 billion Canadian ($1.5 billion) deficit with expectations for a surplus this year.

The good news for Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper comes as he seeks a rare fourth term in the Oct. 19 election and just before participates in a debate on the economy on Thursday.

Harper says there is a zero chance of a deficit this year despite the sharp downturn in the price of oil. Canada fell into a recession in the first six months of the year, dragged down by falling energy prices and economic troubles in China.