Sep 17, 2015

By Jane Brown

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The three main federal party leaders go into tonight’s debate on the economy in a statistical dead heat. Overnight tracking by Nanos Research puts the Liberals slightly ahead at 31 percent, followed by the NDP and Conservatives, each at 30 percent voter support.

In Ontario, the Lead is more obvious. The Liberals have the support of 40 percent of voters with the Conservatives at 32 percent and the NDP at 22 percent.

On the eve of tonight’s debate, a proposed fiscal plan was released by the NDP. It forecasts balanced budgets and surpluses in the years to come.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair plans to pay for such items as a national child-care program and more affordable housing by eliminating an income-splitting plan for families, cuts to fossil fuel subsidies and raising the corporate income tax rate to 17 percent from 15 percent.

Pedro Antunes, deputy chief economist with the Conference Board of Canada, told Zoomer Radio’s Goldhawk Fights Back, when the economy is strong, governments should be in a surplus and when it’s not, governments should be more pro-active in helping the economy.

“What we tend to see in fact, is governments are not very good at it, and when I say this, I’m talking about at the federal and provincial level. When times are good, governments tend to be a little more spendthrift, and spending a little bit more on the economy or lowering taxes etc. Unfortunately that’s the time when they should be saving for the rainy day,” Antunes explained.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has not yet released a full costing of the Conservative fiscal plan, although each platform announcement comes with an individual price tag.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says his promises are all costed within a fiscal framework the party released weeks ago.

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