the Conservatives want less taxes, the Bloc less centralization

OTTAWA — The Conservatives and Bloc Québécois expressed Thursday their expectations for the federal budget which must be tabled in a week, with some demanding that the government not increase the carbon tax and reduce the deficit, others that it curbs its centralizing impulse.






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In a motion tabled in the House of Commons, the Conservative Party is calling for Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government’s next budget to be exempt from new taxes or new taxes on gasoline and diesel and to include a plan to return to budget balance.

The political party has spent the last few hours predicting that the “first New Democrat budget in Canadian history” will include “more spending, more taxes, an unlimited deficit”.

“It comes at a time when Canadians are facing the highest rate of inflation in 30 years,” said their deputy leader and political lieutenant for Quebec, Luc Berthold, commenting on the motion.

The Conservatives are therefore calling on the government to present a “fiscally responsible” budget that includes a plan to combat the rising cost of living.

Mr. Berthold also expressed concern that the budget includes “intrusions into the fields of provincial jurisdiction like we have probably never seen before”, referring to the priorities set out by the Minister of Health to give $ 2 billion to the provinces. .

During a morning press conference, the leader of the Bloc Québécois, Yves-François Blanchet, summarized five “essential conditions” for his political party to support the budget, while specifying that he added above all a condition global: that it refrain from “giving free rein to the centralizing tendency, encroachments, trampling and interference”.

“If it’s a debauchery of centralizing will, don’t even ask the question: the Bloc will vote against it,” Mr. Blanchet told reporters.

Video: Quebec promises a vast reform of the health system (Le Devoir)

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According to him, it is unlikely that Ottawa will not interfere in the jurisdictions of the provinces since that is “what suggests, even in its wording”, the agreement between the Liberals and the NDP.

Either way, Blanchet said he sees no need to include nuance or compromise in his terms since the government’s survival is normally assured by the terms of the pact with the New Democrats.

The Bloc Québécois conditions include Ottawa significantly increasing health transfers, increasing the old age security pension and doubling the GST credit when inflation is high.

Mr. Blanchet was also called upon to comment on the federal investment of $2 billion in transfers to the provinces aimed at reducing waiting lists and delays caused by load shedding during the pandemic.

He was scandalized that Ottawa is not satisfied with paying the provinces the money which is “due to them”, preferring instead to force them to “kneel down” and “cede” jurisdictions “because we are more richer than them, because it is the rest of us who ultimately control the tax system and benefit from the fiscal imbalance”.

The New Democratic Party “expects” the budget to include “concrete, tangible” help for those who are “struggling to pay their bills, to pay their rent”, to fight against the increase in cost of living, said its deputy chief, Alexandre Boulerice.

“The agreement we have with the Liberals, we have to see that in a practical, concrete way, that what we negotiated is reflected in the budgetary measures. We will vote for, if it goes in the direction of the agreement, ”he said in response to a question from The Canadian Press.

Announcing the date for the budget, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said the government’s spending plans will focus on measures to spur economic growth.

The budget is also expected to contain new social programs, including the first steps of national drug and dental plans under the NDP deal.

Michel Saba, The Canadian Press

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