Tories won't need to make budget cuts, Harper says
A Conservative government would not need to cut spending to keep the government from running a deficit, leader Stephen Harper said Saturday.
The economy is not going into recession, and "our plans are more than affordable," he said while campaigning in southern Ontario.
A reporter asked about possible cuts because a weakened economy could cut tax revenues, and the Tories have promised to keep the government in the black without raising taxes.
But Harper said the economy is not going into a recession, and the prospect of program cuts is a "ridiculous scenario."
He went on to attack the Liberal and Bloc Québécois financial plans.
The Liberals will raise taxes, he said, and the Bloc "has nothing to offer Quebecers" in terms of the economy. Moreover, Harper said, voting for the Bloc will leave Quebecers outside of government, citing examples of the federal money Quebec Conservative MPs have brought to their ridings.
Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion, also campaigning in southern Ontario, responded by saying Harper "built his campaign on a lie. The lie that we will raise taxes."
On the cuts to cultural funding, which are believed to have undermined Conservative support in Quebec, Harper said his party's cultural spending measures "far exceed any of the so-called cuts."
He said the election could be close.
Most of the party leaders are campaigning in densely populated southern Ontario and Quebec during this last weekend before the Oct. 14 vote.