Outgoing Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said the government should halt the increase in the price of carbon and reimburse GST payments collected in the past six months.
Scheer presented the measures as a way to ease the financial pressure on small businesses and the Canadian public. The carbon tax is expected to increase by $ 10 a tonne on Wednesday, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has not said his government will delay the hike.
“The Conservatives were initially against the carbon tax,” said Scheer. “This is the last thing Canadians need right now.”
Speaking in his hometown of Regina on Wednesday, Scheer said the Liberal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic so far has been “repeated confusion and delay” and only after the Conservatives pushed it to act, they moved.
He specifically made reference to the Liberal government’s calendar of tougher restrictions on international travel and announcing a wage subsidy plan for businesses.
Canadians are waiting for Finance Minister Bill Morneau on the government’s proposed wage subsidy plan, which would cover 75% of the first $ 58,700 in wages paid to charitable and small and medium-sized business employees dropped 30% or more due to COVID-19.
Trudeau said at a press conference on Friday that the details of the plan would be released on Monday. Morneau and Minister of Small Business, Mary Ng, were scheduled to meet with journalists on Tuesday, but their update is now scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.
The government originally proposed a 10% wage subsidy plan, which many experts considered too small to have a significant impact, but then increased the benchmark to match the larger international subsidy programs, such as Denmark.
“When the government announced its 10% wage subsidy, the Conservatives said it would not be enough. There are so many companies out there that have experienced a catastrophic drop in revenue and a 10% subsidy would not be enough. We were asking the government, for days and days, to increase this wage subsidy. Finally, they intervened this week, but in a very confused manner, ”said Scheer.
We are now wondering if the government will have to call Parliament again to get approval for its adjustment to the subsidy plan. Parliament has been adjourned since mid-March, but MPs returned to Ottawa last week to debate and ultimately approve Liberal aid COVID-19.
“They should have made sure they got it right when it came to helping Canadians rather than just helping themselves,” said Scheer on Wednesday.
Trudeau said the hope of making the change is that companies are equipped to keep staff on the payroll to avoid mass layoffs, or to feel empowered to rehire employees.
On Wednesday, MPs are also expected to increase their annual salaries. MPs are entitled to a 2.1% increase this year, which will increase their base salary from approximately $ 3,750 to $ 182,656.
When asked if it should be postponed until after the pandemic, Scheer said, “I would of course support it. In the meantime, I have indicated that personally, I will donate any additional wages to a local food bank which I am sure is in high demand. “
He added that the Conservative Party will support legislation to delay the increase in wages.
With files from The Canadian Press