Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff would cancel planned corporate tax cuts and take longer to eliminate the deficit in order to pay for new spending priorities identified at the Liberal thinkers’ conference in Montreal.
Ignatieff announced that a Liberal government would freeze the corporate tax rate at 18%, indefinitely deferring the Harper government’s plan to cut the tax to 15% by 2012.
We’re not the NDP here. We believe passionately in competitive corporate tax rates. We’re telling you though, we can’t afford them now. There’s just too much we have to do to get our fiscal house in order and make the investments that will make us a productive society.
– Michael Ignatieff
Ignatieff also pledged that a Liberal government would reduce the deficit to 1% of GDP within two years of taking office, somewhat slower than the Harper government’s plan which projects the deficit will fall below 1% of GDP in fiscal year 2012-13.
Ignatieff says these measures are needed to pay for the new spending priorities identified at the conference, which include national strategies for:
- Education and training, including a focus on illiteracy, language training for new Canadians, early learning and child care;
- Health care, including a focus on preventative health, home care for seniors, and increasing the compassionate care EI benefit from the current 16 weeks, and;
- Clean technology and renewable energy.
Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff says Liberals will return to Parliament on January 25 to hold public consultations until the Olympics begin February 12.
Ignatieff promised the public consultations would produce “serious public policy”, and he held to his previous commitment not to force a spring election.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says Canada will run deficits until budget year 2014/15, two years longer than originally projected.
Opposition parties say Flaherty is incompetent and cannot be trusted. Liberals promise their alternative plan will be unveiled during the next election.
September 2 and 3, 2009 – Federal party leaders position themselves after Michael Ignatieff and the Liberals began pushing for a fall election.
Prime Minister Harper says he will not make any “backroom deals” but is willing to listen to specific proposals coming from the other parties.
The Liberals have abandoned the blue-ribbon EI consultation panel they negotiated in June, and Ignatieff says he won’t negotiate with Harper any longer.
Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe says the Bloc is ready for an election, and they will vote in the interests of Quebec on an issue-by-issue basis.
NDP leader Jack Layton denies any existing deals with the Liberal Party or Bloc. Layton he says he will not make any “backroom deals”, and that Stephen Harper must “reach out” and take action on NDP issues or he will not support the Conservatives in the House of Commons.
Michael Ignatieff says the Liberal Party no longer has confidence in the Conservative government, and they will work to trigger an election at their earliest opportunity.
Liberals say they will not negotiate, and there is nothing Harper can do to change their minds.
The game is up for this Conservative government … Mr. Harper, your time is up. We cannot support this government any further.
– Michael Ignatieff
Michael Ignatieff says the Liberal Party will vote to defeat the government in an upcoming confidence vote unless the Prime Minister addresses four key issues.
Ignatieff says an election can be avoided if Stephen Harper agrees to consult with Liberals on planned changes to Employment Insurance, marking a dramatic departure from Ignatieff’s previous refusals to offer specific public policy suggestions to the Harper government.
ul·ti·ma·tum (uhl-tuh-mey-tuhm) : a final proposition, condition, or demand ; especially one whose rejection will end negotiations and cause a resort to force or other direct action
– Meriam Webster dictionary
May 26 to 28, 2009 – Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says Canada’s 2009/10 budget deficit will grow to over $50 billion, about 50% higher than the $34 billion deficit projected in January.
Liberals demanded Flaherty’s resignation for ‘gross incompetence’.
The government defended its deficit, saying it is necessary during a recession and affordable given Canada’s favourable fiscal position relative to other leading economies.