Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer unveiled his party’s platform today, promising Canadians tax cuts and credits to make life more affordable.
Overall, Scheer is pledging that between today and 2024-25, a Conservative government would spend $49 billion on tax cuts and new programs, but would bring the budget back into balance by raising $69 billion over the same period through new revenue streams and cuts to existing programs and initiatives.
“From students to seniors and everyone in between — if you pay income tax, you will pay less under my government,” Scheer is quoted as saying in the opening pages of the document.
Scheer is the last federal leader of a major party to release his platform — and did so late on a Friday, on the day advance polling opened across the country. Scheer is also the only party leader to release his platform after the completion of the televised debates.
Scheer’s platform is promising an income tax cut and a series of tax credits that he said would make life more affordable. He also is planning to eliminate the federal carbon tax.
“Justin Trudeau has spent our way out of having any type of flexibility if there is a downturn,” Scheer said in Tsawwassen, B.C. earlier today.
“Those massive deficits are weighing down our economy. It means more and more money has to be taken out of our economy … or by paying higher interest payments on the debt, which is just going to banks and bondholders.”
Cutting spending, raising revenues
According to the platform document, the Conservatives would do this by coming up with $6.463 billion in savings and new revenue streams in 2020-21, rising to $20.424 billion annually by the 2024-25 fiscal year. The steps the party would take to save money and boost revenues include:
- Freezing hiring in the federal public service — maintaining jobs at 2020-21 levels until the budget is balanced — for a projected saving of $558 million by 2024-25.
- Reducing operating expenses by cutting the use of consultants, clamping down on travel and hospitality expenses, tightening procurement tools and scaling back on government-owned real estate for a projected saving of $5 billion a year by 2024-25.
- Earmarking less money for infrastructure by focusing on projects that are ready for construction for a projected saving of $6.726 billion a year by 2024-25.
- Cutting corporate welfare payments by $1.5 billion annually.
- Cancelling planned increases to international assistance to save $726 million annually by 2024-25.
- Cutting foreign aid by 25 per cent for a saving of $1.5 billion annually.
- Imposing a three per cent tax on tech giants that operate social media platforms, search engines or online marketplaces in Canada, bringing in an additional $610 million annually by 2024-25.
- Allocating $750 million from other as-yet-unnamed government departments to set up a Tax Gap office that would crack down on tax evasion, to bring in a projected additional $3.37 billion a year by 2024-25.
- Forcing tobacco companies to pay for anti-smoking campaigns to the tune of $58 million a year.
- Withdrawing investments from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to save $9 million a year.
- Repealing parts of the 2019 federal budget, such as subsidies to companies for the purchase of electric cars and eliminating the Canada Training Credit, for a projected saving of $362 million a year by 2024-25.
“Its precisely because there are some signs of possible headwinds that we need to get back on track,” Scheer said. “We need to turn the ship away from the rocky shoals and back out to clear waters, and that’s exactly what this plan does.”