Oliver touts budgets measures during Toronto tour

Says priority remains creating jobs and stimulating economic growth.

TORONTO — Finance Minister Joe Oliver says the government’s budget fulfills its promise to balance the books while cutting the tax burden for Canadians.

During a speech May 4 to the Canadian Club of Toronto, Oliver referred back to his first speech as finance minister 13 months ago, when he told the same group that his priority would be creating jobs and stimulating growth across the country.

The April 21 budget includes proposals to lower the small business tax rate by two percentage points, nearly double the contribution limit on tax-free savings accounts, and expand tax breaks for seniors and families.

Oliver highlighted the government’s promise for a new public transit investment fund worth $1 billion per year by 2019 as part of a solution to transit woes in Toronto and across the country.

He also repeated his promise to bring in balanced-budget legislation, which he said would ensure future fiscal discipline, and used the speech to tout the budget’s tax-cutting measures despite criticism from the opposition that they don’t help the country’s struggling middle class.

Oliver’s speech came just as Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau announced economic proposals of his own that would implement income tax cuts for the middle class and hike taxes for the wealthiest 1% to cover the costs of more generous child benefits.

Trudeau has also promised to reverse the Conservative plan to almost double the limit on tax-free savings accounts.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair has also dismissed the budget, saying it helps the wealthy and misses an opportunity to generate growth in stable, full-time jobs.

© 2015 The Canadian Press

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