Tax relief pledged
TORONTO—The federal government will move to provide tax relief for families after balancing the budget next year, Finance minister Joe Oliver said yesterday in his first speech to a Bay Street audience since taking over the post last month.
“We believe Canadian families still pay too much in tax,” Oliver told the business audience in Toronto.
Tax cuts in the 2015 budget would come ahead of an expected election next year.
Oliver didn’t provide details of the tax breaks, promised during the last election, or get into specific plans for the projected surplus overall—saying he will listen to debate from people all over the country before making any decisions about the more than $6-billion surplus expected next year.
For this year, Ottawa is anticipating a deficit of $2.9 billion, plus a cushion of $3 billion to adjust for emergencies.
“It’s too early to get into too many details, but obviously there are a number of alternatives,” Oliver said in reply to a question from the audience after his speech.
“Some will have us focus on paying down the debt, others reducing taxes, others increasing expenditures,” he noted.
“. . . What the balance is and what the precise policies are in that respect is, of course, what is going to be part of the national debate going forward.”
But Oliver said he was ruling out the possibility of “reckless new spending schemes” that would lead to increased taxes, higher debt, or both.
“We worked too hard to return to a balanced budget to throw it all away,” he stressed.
“So do not expect a big stimulus program.”