Marois grilled over last-minute promise to cut taxes in final days of campaign
The Canadian Press
Published Friday, April 4, 2014 12:36PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, April 4, 2014 2:32PM EDT
LAVAL, Que. -- Parti Quebecois Leader Pauline Marois is defending once again the timing of her announcement that she will introduce tax cuts after Quebec balances its budget.
Marois says she didn't come out with the promise on Thursday in an attempt to gain ground in the provincial election campaign.
Recent opinion polls have shown the PQ trailing the Liberals with just days left before Monday's vote.
Marois acknowleded Friday there was no mention of any possible tax cuts in the budget her government tabled two weeks before the election was called.
But she said she believes it will be possible to achieve a bigger budgetary surplus than expected because of job-creation policies and economic growth.
"With our economic policy, I think we are able to increase (government) revenue," Marois said. "If that is the case, I will split this new revenue between the citizens and the services which we have the obligation to offer to the population of Quebec."
She said the tax cuts would kick in only after the province balances its budget, which the PQ has said will occur in 2015-16.
Marois said before the tax reductions come into effect, the budget first has to be balanced and spending must be controlled.
Quebec's interim auditor general said recently the government was being very optimistic if it thought it could achieve a balanced budget within a few years.
Marois, meanwhile, also expressed the hope that her experience will sway Quebecers when they vote.
"When I was minister of finance, I reduced the debt and I reduced taxation for citizens," she said.
In other campaign news, Quebec Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard promised, if elected, to release legal opinions by the Justice Department involving the Parti Quebecois's controversial charter of values.
"In all transparency, once we're in government, if Quebecers put their trust in us, we will publish those legal opinions," he said, while campaigning in Saint-Jerome, where PQ star candidate Pierre Karl Peladeau is seeking a seat.
"But this is a moot question because we are not going to adopt the discriminatory option of the PQ proposal. We're going to legislate on the other portions on which everybody agrees."