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Politics Mulcair ‘not entertaining any thought’ of running a deficit

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair tours Sciencetech Inc. with company president Scott Hafekost, left, in London, Ont., on Wednesday, August 26, 2015.

Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

An NDP pledge to end income splitting won't be enough to balance the budget, Thomas Mulcair conceded Wednesday, though he would not talk about spending cuts.

The Liberals pounced on Mulcair's insistence this week that an NDP budget would stay in the black as proof of an "austerity" agenda, but Mulcair doubled down Wednesday, saying even if market forces change he will not run a deficit.

"We are not entertaining any thought of that," the NDP leader said.

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He toured a small manufacturing business in London, Ont., to highlight a proposed tax credit for businesses that invest in machinery, equipment and property used in innovative research and development. It would cost $40-million a year.

Mulcair has also promised to lower the small business tax rate to nine per cent from 11 per cent.

His big-ticket promise, to create one million $15-a-day child-care spaces, would cost $5 billion annually once fully implemented in eight years.

Mulcair said he will use money from eliminating Stephen Harper's $2-billion income-splitting plan to fund his own priorities such as child care and the innovation tax credit.

But he has not yet released the full costing details of his platform and isn't talking about what spending cuts would be needed to ensure his budget would balance.

"Every time we do talk about something, whether it's quality $15-a-day child care or this tax credit, we're always going to show where the money's going to come from," Mulcair said.

"We're going to have a fully costed program. Everybody will get to see what the NDP plan is every step of the way."

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Raising the corporate tax rate — he has not yet specified how much he would boost the current 15-per-cent rate — would provide another revenue stream, Mulcair said. And eliminating a tax credit for stock options would provide money to help lift children out of poverty, he said.

When asked about spending cuts, he alluded to making "difficult decisions" around the cabinet table, but said his platform is about the "opposite" of that.

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