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Spending 'cannot become permanent:' Harper

Yesterday was balmy in Halifax, but probably freezing in hell; Prime Minister Stephen Harper agreed with the Liberals.

Yesterday was balmy in Halifax, but probably freezing in hell; Prime Minister Stephen Harper agreed with the Liberals.

While in Halifax to meet with business leaders, Harper responded to Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff’s ultimatums on tax cuts.

Ignatieff said Sunday the Liberals would oppose a budget that includes broad tax cuts that plunge Canada into a “permanent” deficit. Yesterday, Harper — agreed?

“That is obviously a concern that the government of Canada shares,” Harper told reporters at the Marriott Harbourfront.

“I think it’s a broad consensus that we need … to engage in significant spending now to stimulate our economy now, but that cannot become permanent. We’re all on the same page on that score.”

Ignatieff is instead pushing for short-term economic stimulus in the Conservative budget, due on the 27th. Harper said he expects the budget will be generally approved of across Canada.

“All the political parties in Parliament don’t agree on everything. There are certainly broad aspects of what the Liberal party is saying that we can agree with. Beyond that, as you know, the Liberal party has been very general in its wish list for this budget.”

Harper was in Halifax as part of a national tour, meeting business leaders in the run-up to the budget.

Keeping with his usual theme of limited media availability, Harper took only four questions yesterday. In that time he also wished incoming U.S. President Barack Obama good luck.

“Coming to office as the first African-American president is a hugely symbolic and important page in American history. That said, none of us are under any illusions about the great challenges that face President Obama,” he said.

“In all the great challenges that confront him he will find no better friend, neighbour and ally than Canada.”

 
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