I start reporting on Canadian federal politics Monday. The reporters in the Parliamentary bureau at CTV National News have to cover all aspects of politics and the government but each has some specific beat responsibilities. Mine include the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) and the Supreme Court. For that reason, you’re likely to see more items here about those two institutions than others. You shouldn’t mistake the frequency of posts for an endorsement of either.
I hope the writings here will reflect what I think the core mission of any reporter on any beat ought to be and that is to bear witness.
So, with that preamble, let’s get to it.
Monte Solberg, (left) the CPC Finance Critic, has published an open letter to Finance Minister Ralph Goodale, setting out his party’s goals for the annual budget process and reminding Minister Goodale about some of the commitments the Liberal government agreed to in order to have the Speech from the Throne adopted.
. . . the Conservative Party of Canada believes that the time is now for a major assault on the key elements I have outlined in this letter—first, significant tax cuts for working Canadians; second, measures that will enhance business incentives to innovate and invest in Canada; and, finally a boost to the spending that you have promised to help bring Canada’s military to a more effective level. And, just as we argued during the last election campaign, we are confident that our finances can afford it.
The Conservatives are worried that the Liberals will increase program spending.
Mr. Solberg references a recent report by Don Drummond, the chief economist of TD Bank.
In that report, Mr. Drummond argues that “the tax burden on individuals must … be reduced.” In Mr. Drummond’s analysis, “we found that Canadian households indeed have cause for concern – their economic well being has not advanced for many years. This adds urgency to the need to bolster Canada’s lackluster productivity growth and serves as notice to Canadian governments to lighten the tax burden.”
Mr. Drummond’s is an influential voice in policy circles in Ottawa. That’s because, first, all chief economists at Canada’s big banks, including Mr. Drummond, are routinely consulted by top Bank of Canada and Ministry of Finance officials. Second, Mr. Drummond had a long career as a Finance Ministry official, rising to Assistant Deputy Minister in charge of the federal budget planning process.