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May promises a balanced Green budget as party leaders hit coasts

Last Updated Sep 25, 2019 at 1:45 pm EST

Federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May attends the launch of her party's election platform in Toronto on Monday September 16, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Green Leader Elizabeth May says her party, if elected, would balance the federal budget by 2024.

May opened Wednesday’s campaigning by federal leaders by offering the costing of her party’s platform.

“We are able to put before you a budget that is balanced in five years. But to do that we have a number of really large, new revenue pieces,” she said in Halifax.

May proposed a series of new tax measures that she said would create tens of billions of dollars of new revenue for federal coffers. Among them was what she called a “very small tax on financial transactions” that she said would raised $18 billion by 2025.

May said the Greens would increase corporate taxes, close the capital gains loophole, apply a wealth tax to Canadians with more than $20-million dollars and eliminate fossil-fuel subsidies.

Previously, the Greens promised new spending to introduce universal pharmacare, abolish tuition for post-secondary education and provide universal child care, as well as protecting the environment.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, who is campaigning in Quebec, has also promised Canadians a balanced budget, but has yet to explain exactly how.

Scheer highlighted his promise to give Canadians a tax credit to help make their homes more environmentally friendly.

The 20 per cent refundable tax credit could be claimed by anyone who spends between $1,000 and $20,000 on energy-saving home renovations.

That would include installing high-quality insulation, high-efficiency furnaces, replacing doors and windows, installing solar panels and upgrading ventilation, heating and cooling systems in an effort to cut energy use.

The Conservatives say the measure would allow Canadians to save up to $3,800 on renovations every year.

The Conservatives previously announced the two-year program, estimated to cost $900 million annually, in June as part of their overall plan for the environment, which also includes repealing the federal carbon-pricing regime.

The Conservatives say that in 2017, buildings accounted for 85 million tonnes, or 12 per cent, of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says he is committed to investing in the future of the country, and has made no apologies for running deficits to do that. But there were no costing details to accompany his announcement Tuesday on the environment to achieve zero net carbon emissions in Canada by 2050, and halve the income-tax rate for companies that produce zero-emission technologies.

Trudeau will be one of three federal leaders in British Columbia on Wednesday, where the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh is to meet with Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart, a former NDP MP. Singh holds Stewart’s old seat.

The NDP say Singh will unveil a “new deal” to make life more affordable in B.C.

Singh has already promised to cede authority in several areas to Quebec, including on the environment, immigration and justice, as part of his vision for more asymmetric federalism, in which the provinces don’t all have the same relationship with the federal government.

Trudeau will be in Delta, B.C., where he’s expected to make another announcement on the environment before flying back east to a rally in Thunder Bay, Ont.

And People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier begins a western tour, his first extended trip of the campaign, with an appearance at the Surrey, B.C., board of trade.

Trudeau has been trying hard to paint Scheer as backwards on environmental issues, especially climate change, by tying him and his opposition to the Liberals’ carbon-pricing policy to unpopular Ontario Premier Doug Ford.

Trudeau hopes a string of environment-related promises will draw back some of the support that got shaky after last week’s revelations of his history dressing up in black- and brownface.

Singh made climate-change promises of his own on Tuesday, including pledging to electrify Canada’s public-transit fleets by the end of the next decade and to construct a coast-to-coast, clean-energy corridor.

Trudeau’s climate-change policies are hypocritical, the NDP said, considering the $4.5-billion the government spent to buy the Trans Mountain oil-pipeline project.

Trudeau and Singh did speak late Tuesday about the times Trudeau darkened his skin for costumes, but neither camp would say just what they talked about.