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Canadian PM stresses budget balancing in election platform

04-09-2011 15:34 BJT

OTTAWA, April 8 (Xinhua) -- Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Friday trotted out the election platform of his Conservatives, pledging to have the national budget balanced sooner than expected.

In the manifesto, dubbed "Here for Canada," Harper promised to eliminate federal deficit by 2014, one year ahead of schedule, and vowed to carry out solid economic management with gradually lower taxes.

With an eye on the May 2 election, he also committed his party to strengthening the armed forces, beefing up his country's presence in the Arctic, and getting tough on crimes.

"Our Conservative government has been consistent. We're here for Canada," Harper told a rally of supporters. "We've steered our country through the worst global economic recession since the 1930s."

"The next phase of our economic action plan will guide us through the recovery... We have told Canadians about the low-tax plan that we will deliver when the budget is balanced, and we remain true to those commitments," he said.

The prime minister, whose government was toppled last month by a no-confidence vote, also defended his government's decision to buy F-35 stealth fighter jets.

He insisted that Canada's air force needs the procurement, which is estimated to cost 15 billion to 22 billion Canadian dollars (15.7 billion to 23 billion U.S. dollars) over the next two decades, to replace its aging fleet of F-18s by the end of the decade.

A poll released Friday by Canadian research company EKOS Research showed that the Conservatives now have 36 percent of the decided voters behind them, more than any of the three main rivals.

The Liberals have 28.2 percent, the New Democratic Party 16.1 percent, and the Greens 8.8 percent, according to the survey.

However, Harper still needs to win over many more voters in order to secure a majority in parliament. In the past seven years, no single party has had a chance to savor a parliamentary majority.

All the four main parties have started their campaigns for the election less than one month away, where a total of 308 seats in the House of Commons will be up for grabs.

"It still looks like Mr. Harper will win a minority, but that is by no means a sure thing... What is quite clear is that a majority is really unlikely," pollster Frank Graves told the iPolitics website.

Editor:Du Xiaodan |Source: Xinhua

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