Tax cuts, stimulus funding and EI reform was the vision Michael Ignatieff painted of his government yesterday in Halifax.
At a Halifax Chamber of Commerce Q&A session the federal Liberal leader laid out what he would do in his first 100 days as Prime Minister.
“It’s going to be very important to get stimulus into the Canadian economy fast. So we may be looking at tax cuts very quickly. Tax cuts targeted at medium and low income (people) to boost their purchasing power fast,” said Ignatieff.
Ignatieff alluded to using one-time tax rebates to further increase spending power.
But he said he was most committed to permanent tax cuts for lower-income Canadians.
Billions of stimulus dollars in the United States have gone out so fast that officials have lost track of how it’s all being spent. Ignatieff said he’d avoid that problem in Canada by going through local governments.
“Let’s get on the phones with every mayor in the country,” said Ignatieff, who then pointed out Halifax Mayor Peter Kelly in the crowd.
“I phone you and I say, ‘what do you need?’
“I’ve got a list,” Kelly quickly yelled back.
Many speculated the idea of a coalition government would be put on the backburner once Ignatieff took over from former leader Stéphane Dion. Ignatieff repeated yesterday that he would only make a decision after seeing the Conservative budget.
But he also praised the idea of a coalition with the NDP, saying it managed to weaken Prime Minister Stephen Harper and may be necessary again.
“We fought back with a coalition instrument that backed him down the Hill,” he said.
“The coalition achieved an enormous amount.”
Ignatieff also promised to reform employment insurance to cut down waiting times.