Maxime Bernier, leader of the People’s Party of Canada (PPC) made a campaign stop on SAIT campus on Sept. 25 to talk about his platform, before heading off to other post-secondary institutes during the day.
Bernier, who was on the campaign trail for the 2019 federal election, appeared at the Metropolitan that evening.
With his local Calgary MP candidates on stage behind him, and a gathered audience of Calgarians in support of the PPC, Bernier presented his plans for Canada if elected.
As the PPC has a similar platform to the Conservatives, Bernier, who ran unsuccessfully for the Conservative leadership two years ago, was quick to make the distinction between the two parties.
“This party has been based on four principles: Personal responsibility, individual freedom, respect, and fairness, and all our polices are in line with our principles, so that’s very different,” said Bernier.
He went onto say that a real conservative believes in a balanced budget.
Unlike Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, who wants to balance the budget in four years, Bernier said if he wins the election, he will balance in two years.
“We need to balance the budget because the interest on our debt right now is $26 billion a year, and it’s unfair for [the future generation] because 80 per cent of our deficit is on social programs, and only 20 per cent is on real infrastructure,” said Bernier.
Bernier said he’s going to balance the budget by making lots of cuts to government spending.
These cuts include chopping the CBC by $1 billion, corporate welfare by $5 billion, and foreign aid by $4 billion.
“We won’t give money to African countries to fight climate change,” he said.
“We won’t give money to a Chinese development bank to build the roads in China, and pipelines in Asia.”
Bernier added that while the PPC will stop giving money to foreign aid projects, it will still give aid when things like natural disasters occur because he is aware Canadians still care about that.
“We’re thinking about cuts, where are we going to cut to balance the budget, because we’re responsible.
“Then we’re going to reduce your taxes,” said Bernier.
The PPC wants to get rid of the current tax brackets and create two new ones: individuals earning between $15,000 and $100,000 will be taxed at a rate of 15 per cent, while those making above $100,000 will be at a rate of 25 per cent.
Individuals who earn less than $15,000 will not be taxed.
“The cost of that reform for the federal government it is about $35 billion, and we will be able to do that after balancing the budget.
“After balancing the budget we’ll be able to use all of our surplus to lower your taxes,” said Bernier.
The PPC is currently the fastest growing political party in Canada with 40,000 members.
However, the party has been lagging in election polls, barely registering above one per cent nationally. Bernier himself is in a tough fight for re-election in his own riding of Beauce, in Quebec.