Conservatives vow to kill deficit early

Fri Apr 8, 2011 12:56pm EDT
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By Euan Rocha

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario (Reuters) - The Conservatives, trying to secure an elusive majority in the May 2 federal election, promised on Friday to eliminate the budget deficit a year earlier than planned if they win.

Polls show the Conservatives, in power since early 2006, are likely to retain office. Prime Minister Stephen Harper insists only his right-of-center government can be trusted to ensure Canada recovers fully from the global financial crisis.

As Harper launched the party's 67-page election platform on Friday, he said that Canadians can stick with the Conservatives and enjoy a low-tax future or vote for opposition parties, which he said would raise taxes and kill jobs.

"This election is like deciding whether to go forward, or to make a U-turn... Conservatives understand you cannot tax your way to prosperity. You cannot create jobs by raising taxes," he told a crowd of supporters.

"Let us not go back to the days of higher spending, higher taxes, double-digit unemployment, double-digit mortgages."

Canada's economy is one of the best performers among major industrialized nations.

Harper said that by curbing expenditures, the Conservatives would wipe out the deficit by 2014-15. In a budget presented on March 22, the government forecast a budget deficit of $300 million in 2014-15 and a surplus of $4.2 billion in 2015-16.

Harper said he would reintroduce the same budget if he retains power. That could set up a fight with the three opposition parties, which have already made clear they cannot support the document as it stands.   Continued...

<p>Conservative leader and Prime Minister Stephen Harper talks to Shawn MacDonald while unveiling his party's platform during a campaign event in Mississauga, Ontario April 8, 2011. REUTERS/Chris Wattie</p>