Even as oil price sinks, PM Trudeau is 'optimistic' about economy

Thu Jan 14, 2016 2:28pm EST
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By Alastair Sharp

KITCHENER, ONTARIO (Reuters) - Canada's prime minister said on Thursday he was "optimistic" about the country's economy and its potential for growth through innovation and diversification, even as it has been hurt by tumbling oil prices.

"I'm tremendously optimistic about the Canadian economy," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters after touring Google's offices in southern Ontario.

"We have work to do, there's no question about it, but we got elected on a very straightforward perspective that we need a government that bets on Canada, that invests in Canada."

The Liberals came to power last October after promising to run deficits of up to C$10 billion ($6.96 billion) a year to stimulate the economy through infrastructure spending.

Sources familiar with the party's plans told Reuters the government looked certain to break that threshold this year.

Trudeau did not respond directly to a question on whether he saw a need to fast-track infrastructure spending.

He also alluded to the country possibly moving away from reliance on its energy sector as a key driver of growth.

"I'm very, very optimistic about our capacity to get Canada moving forward in the right direction after a time in which we had put all our eggs in one basket," he said.   Continued...

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau laughs during a meeting with Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil (not pictured) in Trudeau's office on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, January 13, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Wattie