Politics·The House

Federal budget 2015: Tom Mulcair, Scott Brison on what they'd do

With a general election fast approaching, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal finance critic Scott Brison go beyond critiquing the Conservatives' federal budget and present their own economic blueprints to host Evan Solomon on CBC Radio's The House.

All parties say they'd balance the budget, but election pitches differ on how

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair joins host Evan Solomon this week on CBC Radio's The House. (CBC)

Since Finance Minister Joe Oliver tabled his federal budget April 21, New Democrats and Liberals have been quick with criticism, saying measures like income-splitting and the doubling of limits on tax-free savings accounts favour wealthier Canadians over the middle class. 

Opposition parties also are offering up their own ideas on how they would balance the books — as well as doubling down on the parts of the Conservative budget each party would strike out if they come into power this fall.

"We'd roll back income-splitting and keep the TFSA limit at its original $5,500," NDP Leader Tom Mulcair told host Evan Solomon in an interview on CBC Radio's The House

The NDP would, however, keep the boost to the universal child care benefit and the tax cut from 11 per cent to nine per cent for small businesses — a proposal Mulcair announced as part of his own election platform last January.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has yet to reveal all the details of his economic platform, but suggested this week that it would be coming soon, now that the Conservative budget is out. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)
"It's progressive," Mulcair said of the small business tax slash. "That's good, we agree with that. We don't hesitate to agree when it makes sense."

The Liberals also support the small business tax cut, despite confusion after Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau's initially conflicting comments on his party's stance. 

"Justin Trudeau has been absolutely clear, we would not roll back this tax cut for small businesses," Liberal finance critic Scott Brison told Solomon.

All balanced budgets?

Neither a Mulcair nor a Trudeau government would consider deficit spending necessary for stimulus, both politicians said.

"It's a question of priorities," Brison said. For the Liberals, that priority is infrastructure, he said, and they'd find the funds by canceling the Conservatives' income-splitting plan, which is estimated to cost the government $2.2 billion. 

"That would stimulate growth, that would create more liveable communities and that would create jobs and growth in the short term and in the long term, a more competitive economy," he said.

Mulcair repeated his intention to introduce a $15-a-day universal daycare program, which would be paid in part by increasing corporate taxes to something closer to the G7 average — which would mean a hike of as much as 4.5 percentage points from the current 15 per cent.

"[Increasing] GST is absolutely off-limits, it's very regressive, it hits the poor hardest," he told Solomon. "Canadians are paying enough income tax. The only Canadians not paying their fair share of taxes now is large corporations."

When will Liberals release plan?

Mulcair has released planks of his budget platform in the past, but for now, Trudeau is still keeping mum about when Canadians can expect to see a Liberal plan. 

After the Conservative budget was tabled April 21, Trudeau said his own budget blueprint could be coming in a matter of weeks.

But Brison refused to nail down a date with Solomon. 

"We've laid out the broad strokes: we would invest in infrastructure, in people, in skills, in training," he said. "We will be moving forward with a bold plan for the Canadian economy... and we look forward to launching that plan."


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