Freeland doesn’t rule out new taxes on wealthy or corporate Canada in upcoming budget

Freeland doesn't rule out new taxes on wealthy or corporate Canada in upcoming budget © Provided by The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland has ruled out raising taxes on the middle class in the upcoming federal budget — but won’t say if corporations or the wealthy are in for the same treatment.

Freeland pointedly did not answer Tuesday when asked during a news conference about the prospect of new taxes on corporate Canada or others not part of the middle class.

Instead, she emphasized the “urgent” need to invest in things that are important to Canadians, such as housing and artificial intelligence.

“Young Canadians (especially) need us to make those investments — investments in housing, investments in affordability, investments in productivity and growth,” Freeland said.

“We also really believe in the importance of making those investments in a fiscally responsible way.”

Freeland has already said she would honour the new fiscal guardrails that were announced in the fall, including keeping the federal deficit below $40.1 billion.

But the new measures won’t be financed by way of higher taxes on the middle class, she insisted.

“We remain absolutely committed to being there for hardworking middle-class Canadians, and then we won’t raise taxes on them,” she said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has already made similar commitments.

With the federal budget to be delivered April 16, questions are swirling about how the Liberals will pay for a recent raft of policy proposals, including a national school food program.

The House of Commons finance committee has recommended the federal government implement a windfall tax on companies in all sectors that generate “oversized” profits during crises as well as grocery giants to fund another doubling of the GST rebate.

The Liberal government has been touring the country over the last two weeks to make announcements on measures included in the federal budget. it is It is an unconventional approach to promoting budget measures.

Federal governments have historically touted the importance of protecting budget secrecy until the document is tabled in the House of Commons, though they often planted leaks in the media ahead of time.

When asked why the federal government has opted to publicize measures in the budget ahead of its official release, Freeland said the government owes it to Canadians to explain what it’s doing to help them.

“Very often, on budget day, all of you (journalists) are met with a flurry of announcements. Laying out our plan step-by-step, day-by-day is an opportunity for Canadians to hear from us (about) what it is we’re doing and for there to be a real, thorough reason (and) fact-based debate about a number of the measures,” she said.

“And I think that’s a really good thing.”

Source: Nojoud Al Mallees, The Canadian Press