NDP leader says will play nice with Canada investors

Fri Apr 29, 2011 12:29pm EDT
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By Rod Nickel

SASKATOON, Saskatchewan (Reuters) - A Canadian government led by the left-leaning New Democratic Party would erase the deficit within four years and clarify laws on foreign takeovers, offering investors a new degree of predictability, party leader Jack Layton said on Thursday.

Speaking to Reuters in an interview during the final campaigning days before the May 2 election, Layton also said he opposes a takeover bid for TMX Group by the London Stock Exchange and believes the Canadian economy is too fragile to withstand interest rate hikes.

Spending projections from the party, which has catapulted to an unexpected second place in opinion polls, were nothing for financial markets to worry about, he said.

"We're very confident in the fiscal projections that we've made - they're quite conservative," Layton said. "(The deficit target) is in ink all right, and I signed it."

The NDP promises C$69 billion ($73 billion) in new spending over four years and says it will eliminate the deficit over that period as higher corporate taxes and an ambitious job creation program bring in new revenues.

Some investment analysts have said greater clout for the NDP could bring uncertainty on fiscal issues, and Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper warned on Thursday that the NDP platform would destroy jobs.

Layton dismissed that. "It's a modest adjustment of priorities at the margins of the federal spending envelope, but it can have important impacts on people's lives," he said.

The NDP has never governed Canada at the federal level. But pollsters say it could win almost 100 seats in this election, based on current opinion poll numbers.   Continued...