Canada has the lowest unemployment rate in 40 years and boasts strong job growth, while the average middle-class family is $2,000 better off today than it was in 2015.
So says Liberal candidate Mary Ann Murphy, who made an economic argument for the party’s re-election on Oct. 21 at a forum Wednesday night in Westbank.
Canada’s “fiscal position” is the best in the G7, Murphy said, citing a debt-to-GDP ratio of 1% compared to 5% in the U.S.
But Conservative Dan Albas, the incumbent MP for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, said wage growth has slumped below the inflation rate, and that most Canadians he talks to do not share the Liberals’ rosy assessment of current economic conditions.
“People are feeling squeezed,” Albas said, promising the Conservatives’ plans for tax cuts would allow people to keep more of their own money.
Green party candidate Robert Mellalieu said his party neither advocated raising or lowering taxes.
“Be wary of politicians saying they’ll give you a tax cut,” Mellalieu said, adding that would mean either service cuts or an increase in the deficit.
“We need you guys to keep paying your taxes,” Mellalieu said, adding the money is necessary, among other things, to upgrade the country’s infrastructure and to invest in environmentally friendly economic strategies.
Joan Phillip, the NDP candidate, touted the party’s promotion of a national pharmacare plan, its plan to encourage the construction of low-cost housing, and greater funding for drug-treatment programs.
“We want to look after people’s needs, cradle to grave, head to toe,” Phillip said.
If elected, the People’s Party of Canada would deliver tax cuts beyond what the Conservatives are promising, said PPC candidate Allan Duncan.
“We believe the tax burden is too high for Canadians,” Duncan said. “We believe in you to make investments where you want.”