Tony Clement takes aim at bridge tolls, CBC in bid to become leader

Conservative Party leadership candidate Tony Clement says it's time to rebuild the party's relationship with Atlantic Canadians as he outlined a strategy that involves cutting funding to the CBC and standardizing federal policy towards bridge tolls, including tolls on the Confederation Bridge.

Conservative Party leadership candidate Tony Clement also wants to rebuild relationship with Atlantic Canada

Tony Clement, a leadership candidate for the Conservative Party of Canada, was in P.E.I. on Friday. Some of his positions include cutting annual funding to CBC and re-engaging Atlantic Canadians. (CBC)

Tony Clement has a clear stance on continued annual funding to the CBC, especially its television programming — it would "go the way of the Dodo bird."

That was one of the topics Clement discussed during his visit to Prince Edward Island on Friday with CBC News: Compass host Bruce Rainnie.

"I would want to liberate the taxpayers from the yearly [$1.1-billion] contribution to the coffers of the CBC," said Clement, a candidate for the Conservative Party of Canada leadership.

Clement, a former Ontario MPP and now MP for the riding of Parry Sound-Muskoka, called the annual funding a "leg up" against other content providers. 

Relationship with Atlantic Canada 

Clement also discussed the party's relationship with Atlantic Canadians.

"It's very clear to me that we kind of lost that relationship with Atlantic Canada and that people in Atlantic Canada didn't see us as the ones defending the way of life here and the path to a better future," he said.

Clement added that with issues such as the unemployment rate, Supreme Court Justice representation or lobster measurements — "all of the sudden, it's the Liberals who are not standing up for Atlantic Canada." 

In these issues, Clement sees an opportunity to re-engage with Atlantic Canadians on how the party plans to expand the economy, grow jobs and "be in your corner better."

Bridge tolls, Canada Post

Clement was critical of the Liberals' stance on tolls on Confederation Bridge, while the new Champlain Bridge in Montreal could have no tolls. He said the same standard should apply to both.

With respect to Canada Post, he said the Crown corporation has to continue to modernize and keep costs in line with taxpayers' expectations. Privatizing the Crown corporation wasn't realistic given the pension liabilities, he said.

Stephen Harper 

Clement also commented on former prime minister Stephen Harper's resignation as a Member of Parliament. The departure comes after he resigned as leader of the party, after losing power in the fall election.

Clement said Harper showed that the party could be comfortable in power and be good managers of the country and the economy.  

With files from Compass


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