Canadian officials closely watching Brexit vote outcome, Morneau says

TORONTO – Finance Minister Bill Morneau says Canadian officials are closely watching the outcome of Britain’s vote on remaining part of the European Union.

Speaking in Toronto today, he says a strong United Kingdom and a strong European Union are best for Canada, and he hopes the so-called Brexit vote will see Britain remain in the EU.

Currency traders have predicted a plunging pound in the event of a British exit, but Morneau says Canada has a “long-term perspective” on the reserves the country holds and he doesn’t believe the volatility is a concern over the long term.

Morneau says Canada’s Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with the EU would be “lessened” if voters in the U.K. decide to leave.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has publicly suggested it would be difficult for Britain to replicate its own version of the Canada-EU free trade deal.

Morneau has said Ottawa estimates it will create about a 20 per cent increase in trade and will deliver a 0.77 per cent annual boost to Canada’s gross domestic product.