(OTTAWA) Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre promises to restore “common sense” to Ottawa by imposing iron discipline in the management of public finances if the Conservative Party wins the next election.
The day after Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland tabled the budget, announcing new spending and postponing the return to a balanced budget to an uncertain date, Mr. Poilievre reaffirmed his firm intention to impose a new rule: every dollar new federal government spending will have to be accompanied by a dollar in savings.
The third budget presented Tuesday by Minister Freeland is still written in red ink – a deficit of $ 40 billion is expected in the 2023-2024 fiscal year. The return to balanced budgets, which was mentioned last fall in 2027-2028 during the presentation of the economic statement, is becoming a distant and uncertain project. The deficit is expected to reach $14 billion in 2027-2028, according to projections by the Department of Finance.
On Wednesday, Poilievre also bluntly refused to say whether he would continue with $13 billion in investments planned over the next five years to create a Canadian dental plan for low-income people who don’t have health care. ‘assurance.
“That program doesn’t exist,” he repeated a few times as reporters pressed him with questions about his intentions.
“There is no dental care program at this time. There is another election promise from the New Democrats and the Liberals. They never deliver the goods. It doesn’t make sense to say yes or no to something that doesn’t exist. We will see what will exist. We are going to present an electoral plan in the next election which will show that people are going to keep more money in their pockets,” he said.
“We’re going to cut government costs. We will balance the budget. We are going to bring our jobs back here to Canada. That’s what we’re going to push forward,” he added.
Canada’s dental plan began rolling out last fall following the release of the Department of Finance’s economic statement.
Currently, only children under the age of 12 are eligible. In the budget tabled Tuesday, the Trudeau government confirms that it will continue phased implementation in 2023 for under-18s, seniors and persons with disabilities. Thereafter, the program will be expanded to all individuals with household incomes below $90,000 by the end of 2025.
This program is one of the key measures of the agreement reached between the Liberals and the New Democrats to allow the minority government of Justin Trudeau to remain in power until 2025. The program is expected to reach 9 million people, according to the government estimates.
Despite everything, Pierre Poilievre questioned the existence of this program.
What he has not questioned is his intention to return to balanced budgets if he wins the next election.
“There has never been so much waste in government as there is today. We spent $21 billion on consultants. That’s a more than 100% increase in contracts for consultants in nearly eight years. At the same time, the number of civil servants was increased by 30%. To do what ? To provide worse services,” Poilievre said.
“I’m going to pass a law that says every time the government increases spending by a dollar, it must find a dollar in savings. It’s common sense. We have to bring common sense back home,” he added.