Politics

Scheer, Singh talk transit, cellphone fees in GTA battlegrounds

Andrew Scheer and Jagmeet Singh are pitching pocketbook issues today, with the Conservatives promising to give money back to public transit users and the New Democrats pledging to make cellphone and internet bills cheaper.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer steps off a public transit bus in Mississauga, Ont., on Friday. Scheer is campaigning in the Greater Toronto Area, a key federal election battleground riding. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Andrew Scheer and Jagmeet Singh are pitching pocketbook issues today, with the Conservatives promising to give money back to public transit users and the New Democrats pledging to make cellphone and internet bills cheaper.

Scheer — campaigning in Mississauga, a key federal election battleground in the Greater Toronto Area — is vowing to bring back the Public Transit Tax Credit that was scrapped by Justin Trudeau's Liberals if he is elected prime minister.

The Conservative leader said the plan "strikes the balance of reducing emissions to fight climate change while keeping our core promise to leave more money in your pockets so you can get ahead."

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer told reporters in Mississauga on Friday that if elected PM he would restore the transit tax credit 0:59

The credit, which allowed riders to claim up to 15 per cent of what they spent on transit passes, was introduced by Stephen Harper's Conservatives in 2006, only to be cut by the Liberals in the 2017 federal budget.

Scheer said a family of four that commutes regularly on public transit in the Greater Toronto Area would save nearly $1,000 per year. Monthly and weekly transit passes would both be eligible for the tax credit, as would electronic fare cards when used for an extended period. (Scheer has since promised to cut the lowest federal income tax rate from 15 per cent to 13.75 per cent over three years, which would reduce the amount of the tax credits by a corresponding amount.)

When the Liberals cut the public transit tax credit, it was costing the federal government about $200 million a year. A report by the federal auditor general in 2008 concluded the credit would have a "negligible impact on Canada's greenhouse gas emissions."

Scheer will continue campaigning in Toronto-area ridings throughout the day, after participating in his first televised debate as Conservative leader last night.

The NDP's Singh also spent his morning in the GTA, trying to appeal to Canadians worried about their pocketbooks.

Surrounded by supporters holding prop signs with dollar figures and sad emojis, Jagmeet Singh talked about the NDP's plan to put a price cap on cellphone and internet services.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh spoke to reporters in the Toronto riding of Beaches East York 1:30

"We are paying some of the highest bills in the world when we talk about cellphone or internet services," Singh said during a campaign stop in the urban riding of Toronto–Danforth once represented by the late Jack Layton. "There's got to be a better way."

Singh went after Justin Trudeau's Liberal government, accusing it of kowtowing to telecommunications corporations.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh responds to a question during a campaign stop in Toronto on Friday. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

With files from The Canadian Press

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