Canada Liberals can lift spending and avoid deficits: Trudeau

Tue Jan 27, 2015 3:24pm EST
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By David Ljunggren and Randall Palmer

OTTAWA (Reuters) - If Canada's opposition Liberals win the election set for this October they would be able to boost spending on their priorities without necessarily running a budget deficit, party leader Justin Trudeau told Reuters on Tuesday.

Trudeau's centrist Liberals are neck and neck with the governing right-of-center Conservatives in the runup to the election.

"Within our means there are decisions that can be made around the kinds of investments that actually give us returns, whether it's in education or infrastructure like public transit, without having to fall into deficit," Trudeau said in an interview.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives, who have been in power since early 2006, portray management of the economy as one of their strong suits.

Trudeau, 43, will have to fend off Conservative criticism that a Liberal government would spend lavishly, leading to big deficits and tax hikes.

"I don't think tax hikes need to be part of the mix," said Trudeau, who is the eldest son of former Liberal prime minister Pierre Trudeau.

Trudeau has already promised to scrap an income-splitting tax measure that is set to cost the government about C$2 billion ($1.6 billion) per year over five years.

He said other ways of freeing up money include ending spending "hundreds of millions of dollars" on ads for government programs and the hiring of external communications consultants.   Continued...

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau delivers a speech to supporters at a rally in Ottawa January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Wattie