Greens would cut taxes and balance the budget

– Green Party of Canada

This week, in a cross-country launch, the Green Party of Canada unveiled a series of key policies that together would work to bring Canada out of the current structural deficit and into a new green economy. “I am here on Parliament Hill, where all MPs should be, to continue the important conversation started by the Parliamentary Budget Officer. Our country suffers from a triple deficit –- fiscal, ecological and democratic. It’s no time to shut down discussion,” said Leader Elizabeth May.

A key piece of the Green Party economic recovery plan is a tax cut in the form of lowering EI and CPP contributions and deductions. “In our plan, EI and CPP contributions/deductions will be cut by one third and replaced with revenues from the carbon tax,” said Deputy Leader Jacques Rivard. “This will put taxes on polluters and not on small businesses who want to hire people.”

Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page has released analysis showing that the Harper government has created a structural deficit. The Conservatives have pledged not to raise taxes; however, they do plan to raise payroll taxes. “Increasing the amount of EI deductions and contributions for employers and workers hurts Canada’s economic recovery and depresses new job creation. We need to make it easier to hire people, not harder,” said May. “The Green Party plan would reduce the deficit by $36 billion — $5.2 billion more by 2012-2013 than the Harper government, without a job-killing increase on EI payments as planned by the Harper government for 2011.”

Harper’s plan will leave a huge and structural deficit. “We need new ideas that will benefit all Canadians,” said Deputy Green Leader Adriane Carr. “The Green Party wants to open a national conversation based on the latest Parliamentary Budget Officer’s report. The government needs to hear what direction Canadians want the country to go in—and the Green Party believes that direction should make job creation a top priority.”

Employment for youth is a key policy in the Green vision. Greens would fund local Community and Environment Service Corps Youth Programs that would provide employment nation-wide for 40,000 youth per year, with the additional benefit of a $4,000 tuition credit for those who complete the program. “Young people just starting their careers face special challenges during a recession,” said Carr. “They don’t yet have the work experience to compete strongly for scarce jobs and yet need a job to become experienced. They are in a Catch-22. That is why they deserve special federal programs to ensure a solid start to their working life. This investment will only serve to strengthen our economy in the long run.”

The Greens also propose to cancel planned corporate tax cuts scheduled to come on stream from 2010-2012, thereby reducing current deficit projections by $3.3 million, $2.8 billion and $5.2 billion in successive years. “We are sharing our plan with Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page and welcome his response. We may not yet have all the right answers but we want to advance the collective effort of all Canadians to address the deficits that threaten our children’s future – fiscal, ecological and democratic.”

“We need now to climb out of this recession, but we shouldn’t do it by repeating the mistakes of the past. It is time for new, fresh and green ideas,” concluded May.

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