By Steve Scherer and Kelsey Johnson
OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada’s Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday that a middle-class tax cut would be the first order of business for his new minority government, which would seek support in parliament on a case-by-case basis.
Speaking for the first time since winning Monday’s election, Trudeau said he would present his new cabinet on Nov. 20, but he did not say when he might convene parliament for the first time. He would not seek a “formal or informal coalition,” he said.
After a bitter campaign, Trudeau said he would speak to all party leaders in coming weeks, and he promised to address the concerns of the country’s western oil patch where his party did not win a single seat, including by completing an oil pipeline expansion to the Pacific coast.
“The very first thing we will do… will be putting forward a bill to lower taxes for the middle class,” Trudeau said, adding that he expected other progressive parties in parliament to support the measure.
“We will be continuing with the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion,” he added.
Trudeau’s tone was conciliatory on Wednesday after he lost a majority in parliament but ended up with more seats than any other party. Trudeau, one of the world’s most prominent progressive leaders, is expected to turn mainly to the left-leaning New Democratic Party (NDP) for backing.
Speaking of his weakened political position compared with his previous term, Trudeau said: “Canadians gave me a lot to think about.”
(Reporting by Steve Scherer and Kelsey Johnson; Editing by Chris Reese and Marguerita Choy)