POLITICS

Trudeau says he's focused on building economy, not tax cuts

10/20/2014 12:05 EDT | Updated 12/19/2014 05:59 EST
OTTAWA - Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is signalling the tax cuts promised by the Conservative government could lead to a political showdown ahead of the 2015 federal election.

Trudeau suggested in an interview today with CBC's French-language service Radio-Canada that a Liberal government would prioritize investment in infrastructure, education, and research over any tax relief.

He says he's made a promise as leader of the party to build an economy with a strong and growing middle class.

Trudeau made the comments in response to a question on Radio-Canada's Les coulisses du pouvoir about the cost of those planned investments, and whether it would be politically difficult for him to reverse any cuts given to taxpayers.

Finance Minister Joe Oliver hinted last week cuts could be announced as soon as the annual fall economic update.

Oliver has said plans to balance the budget in 2015 remain on track despite the falling price of oil.

The Prime Minister's Office chastised Trudeau for his remarks, saying the government is intent on providing tax relief to Canadians.

In contrast, spokesman Jason MacDonald says, Trudeau will hike taxes to "spend billion of dollars" expanding government.

A Trudeau official, meantime, said the government has focused on tax cuts while the Liberals are focused on jobs and growth.