PM Harper addresses British Parliament

Liberal-NDP-Bloc coalition a political threat to economic recovery: Flaherty

Conservative finance minister Jim Flaherty says a potential election and the spectre of an opposition coalition government pose a political risk to the economic recovery.

Under an Ignatief-NDP-Bloc Québécois government, nothing would be safe. No part of our economy would be spared. No taxpayer would avoid the hit.

– Jim Flaherty

Ignatieff would cancel tax cuts to pay for new spending priorities

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:

  1. Education and training, including a focus on illiteracy, language training for new Canadians, early learning and child care;
  2. 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;
  3. Clean technology and renewable energy.

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Harper’s optimistic economic outlook

Stephen Harper predicts Canada will emerge from the global recession faster than other countries, and stronger than before.

Canada was the last advanced country to fall into this recession, we will make sure its effects here are the least severe, and we will come out of this faster than anyone, and stronger than ever.

– Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Flaherty announces $34 billion deficit, prepared for more

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced the Canadian government will return to deficit spending as he tables the first recession budget in over a decade.

The budget includes stimulus spending on infrastructure projects, a home renovation tax credit, and income tax cuts for those earning less than $80,000 per year.  The government is expected to run a deficit of $33.7 billion for the 2009-10 fiscal year and $29.8 billion in 2010/11.

Flaherty said the uncertain economic outlook may still get worse, and the government is prepared to for larger deficits if current forecasts prove optimistic.

The budget includes a plan to return spending to a surplus after 5 years, and promises any future surpluses would be used to pay off the debt accumulated from deficit spending during the recession.


Ignatieff launches scathing attack on Harper

Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff launches a scathing attack on Stephen Harper during his first keynote speech at a luncheon hosted by the Canadian Club of Toronto and the Empire Club of Canada.

Parliament’s new spirit of cooperation?

November 18 to 24, 2008 – The 40th session of Parliament opens with all political parties promising a new spirit of cooperation.  Despite this, opposition members set a confrontational tone in Question Period.