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Liberals promise lower taxes, cellphone bills in pitch aimed at middle class

Last Updated Sep 22, 2019 at 8:12 pm EST

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau made two big policy promises Sunday afternoon, aimed at making life for middle class families more affordable.

Speaking at a campaign stop at a Brampton family’s home, Trudeau promised to make the first $15,000 of income tax free for most Canadians.

He said the cut would save the average Canadians $292 a year and the average middle class family would save $585 annually.

The Liberals say they would do this by raising the basic personal amount by almost $2,000 for people earning under $147,000 a year.

Trudeau also promised to cut cellphone bills by 25 per cent by working with telecom companies to offer plans with lower prices. If service providers are unable to achieve that price reduction, Trudeau said his government would encourage more competition to bring prices down.

“When I meet with Canadians, there’s one thing that’s near universal — everyone complains that they’re paying too much for cellphone service … and the data backs it up: right now, Canadian cellphone plans are among the most expensive in the G7.” he said. “Canadians shouldn’t have to choose between having a cellphone and heating their homes.”

The Liberals’ proposed plan claims to save the average family of four $976 a year in cellphone costs.

Trudeau also reiterated previous promises including increased access to before and after school care, paid family leave, strengthening the Canada Pension Plan and banning military style assault rifles.

When asked how he might overcome any push back from provincial governments on stronger gun control measures, specifically banning hand guns, Trudeau said the Liberals would work with provinces, territories and municipalities to ensure that municipalities have the opportunity to ban hand guns withing their city limits.

Trudeau estimated that by lowering taxes and reducing cellphone bills, a Liberal government would save Canadians $1500 a year and lift 40,000 people out of poverty, saying that number is “twice as many as the Conservative plan.” He repeatedly emphasized helping the middle class — which the Liberals had been trying to make a theme of their campaign before it was derailed by Trudeau’s blackface scandal.

The Liberal leader was asked several questions about the scandal including when he realized black and brownface were racist and whether or not he could definitively say there are no more instances when he wore racist makeup.

In response Trudeau repeated that representing the riding of Papineau helped him understand the racist connotations of those actions. He also repeated his apologies and said he is committed to being a better ally to all Canadians.

“As a country we need to keep working for diversity, working to fight racism and intolerance and as an individual I have to keep having really important conversations about choices made in the past and about how I earn, once again, the trust of Canadians that I hurt.”

The Liberal leader has previously apologized after images emerged showing he chose to put on black or brownface as part of costume events on multiple occasions before he entered politics, but continues to face questions about his behaviour on the campaign trail.

“I think there are a lot of Canadians through the past days who are reflecting on and learning more about the racist history of blackface and that is something … that we are all talking about and I am certainly reflecting on deeply, as we pledge ourselves as a party and as a government to move forward to continue to fight racism, discrimination and intolerance wherever it may be found,” Trudeau said.

With files from The Canadian Press