Conservative Party of Canada leader Erin O’Toole says if he were prime minister, he’d lead the country out of deficit, promote the development of energy projects and cut greenhouse gas emissions.
O’Toole, during a Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce webinar March 29, said he believes it is possible to cut emissions without the use of a carbon tax, adopted by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
While the Conservative leader did not lay out his party’s approach to cutting emissions while encouraging the development of natural resources, he promised those details would come in the next months, prior to the next general election.
O’Toole ran through a varied list of priorities the Conservatives would offer as an alternative to the Liberal government, from a comprehensive job creation plan, a policy for ethical and transparent government, mental health initiative, domestic vaccine production to getting the federal budget back to balance.
The federal government plans to release a budget April 19, its first since the 2020 pandemic struck. Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux has pegged the deficit at about $382 billion, but warned it could be higher.
O’Toole said the way out of deficit lies in job creation and in making the most of the ready markets for Canada’s natural resources, including energy and forestry, and in its industries such as aerospace and auto manufacturing.
“We’re proud of Canada’s resources, whether they’re in the ground or forests or in the heads of our young people.”
The former lawyer and Canadian Air Forces navigator, who served as a minister in 2015 in the Harper government and won the party leadership race in 2020, said he lived in Winnipeg for more than a year, training at 17 Wing.
Winnipeg, he noted, is conspicuously located to help lead an economic revival; situated at the crossroads of Canada, a central connection for the east and west it can serve as a hub.
He also touched upon national trade prospects, speaking for the need to stand up against China – one of our largest trading partners – in matters of national security and human rights abuses. The trade difficulties Canada has weathered with that country reveal the need to develop and expand in newer global trade markets, he stressed.