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UPDATE 1-Canada's ruling Liberals pledge billions in new investments as election nears

reuters.com · 09/01/2021 10:33
UPDATE 1-Canada's ruling Liberals pledge billions in new investments as election nears

Adds details from platform

By Steve Scherer

- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party on Wednesday pledged a whopping C$78 billion ($62 billion) in new investments over five years, with a focus on healthcare, if it wins the Sept 20 federal election.

The investments would be partially offset by more than C$25 billion in new revenue, mostly from a higher tax on the profits of banks and insurers and fighting tax evasion, the party said in its release of its full election platform.

The investments would add to the C$101 billion in extra spending over three years passed in a budget earlier this year. They would be spread over five years, from 2021-22 to 2025-26.

Despite the new investments, debt as a percentage of gross domestic product is projected to decline two percentage points to 46.5% in 2025-26, the Liberals said.

Liberals were the last of the main parties in the election race to release their full program. Trudeau called a snap vote two years early on Aug 15 hoping his management of the pandemic and his vaccine roll out would be a springboard to a majority. (See party platform FACTBOX: nL1N2PQ2PY)

But the polls show Trudeau's Liberals in a statistical tie with Erin O'Toole's Conservatives less than three weeks before the vote. (POLLS: nL1N2Q20YW)

O'Toole has also put forward a big-spending platform, but he said on Tuesday he would balance the budget in 10 years time "without cuts" and only by boosting revenues through stronger economic growth.

Most of the individual policies in the platform have been announced, but this is the first glimpse at a full pricing of the plan with investments focused on improving long-term care, mental health, indigenous health and lowering soaring housing costs.

($1 = 1.2587 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Steve Scherer, additional reporting by David Ljunggren, Editing by William Maclean)

((steve.scherer@thomsonreuters.com; +1-647-480-7889;))