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Oliver Says Canada Will Look at Further Business Tax Cuts

Canadian Finance Minister Joe Oliver said he will look to lower business taxes further after the nation balances its budget next year.

Oliver, speaking in Halifax on the first stop of a four-city speaking tour this week, said the government’s efforts to lower the tax bill for businesses has helped make Canada a more attractive place to invest and fueled jobs growth.

“Taxes absorb dollars that could otherwise be reinvested to grow a business, hire more locals and give Canadians more of what we want and need,” Oliver said in the prepared text of his speech. “That is why, when we return to a balanced budget, we will be looking at ways to provide additional tax relief.”

Corporate tax cuts have been one of the key pillars of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s economic policy since taking power in 2006, along with international trade agreements and efforts to build energy infrastructure. The government’s move to cut Canada’s corporate income tax rate to 15 percent from above 22 percent was among the main issues in the 2011 election campaign that gave the governing Conservatives a majority.

Business taxes could continue to be a wedge issue in next year’s election. Thomas Mulcair, leader of the main opposition New Democratic Party, has said he would increase corporate tax rates to fund social programs if he took power, claiming the cuts have benefited primarily the country’s largest companies.

Oliver also said today the government’s main priority once the budget is balanced will be to lower taxes for “hardworking Canadian families.”

Canada’s fiscal plan, released Feb. 11, projects almost C$45 billion ($41 billion) in surpluses over four years.

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