Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says he's not about to engage in a public fire sale of General Motors stock for Canadian taxpayers.

Ottawa and Ontario contributed $13.7 billion to help bailout North American automakers more than three years ago.

To recoup taxpayers' money the governments would have to sell their GM shares at twice their current price.

Flaherty says when he was in private business he didn't sell stocks at half their price, but adds Ontario is welcome to do what it wants.

The minister's words follow a report in the Globe and Mail that suggested Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan is calling on Ottawa to unload the shares.

In reaction to that report, a spokeswoman for Duncan says Ontario will take action when "time and circumstances are appropriate... to ensure that Ontarians receive the best possible return on their investment."

Flaherty is in Victoria today to start cross-country pre-budget consultations in roundtable settings with community leaders and organizations in advance of his federal budget.

Flaherty says Ottawa's primary goal is returning to a balanced budget, which means a tight rein on spending, but not a total lock down on government initiatives.