OTTAWA – Jagmeet Singh promises that infrastructure projects funded by an NDP government would use Canadian steel and other domestic products to help people work.
“Whenever we talk about large infrastructure, we have to make a commitment that the infrastructure is made of Canadian products, Canadian steel, Canadian aluminum,” the NDP leader said on Wednesday during a shutdown country style in Windsor, Ontario.
“The Liberals talked about a high speed train. They never once mentioned that they were going to use Canadian products on a high speed train, ”he said.
Singh did not characterize his proposal as a “Buy Canadian” policy within the meaning of the “Buy American” rules for the US government. President Joe Biden pledged to toughen up the policy and doubled it down when he announced his $ 2 trillion infrastructure program earlier this year.
The pledge of infrastructure spending is part of an NDP plan to create a million jobs, a goal the Liberals and Conservatives are also committed to achieving.
The NDP’s master plan for jobs focuses heavily on past promises, including better support for workers through a national pharmacare program, 10 days of paid sick leave and a higher minimum wage.
Besides building public infrastructure, including public transportation, Singh said an NDP government would create economic activity by building 500,000 new homes – a pledge he made during the 2019 election campaign. – and by strengthening the country’s national manufacturing capacity.
In June, the country left about 340,000 jobs, or nearly 2%, below pre-pandemic employment levels seen in February 2020.
Factoring in population growth, Statistics Canada said the employment gap is likely closer to 540,000 jobs.
The Bank of Canada also said Wednesday that it estimated around 550,000 people should be hired.
Regarding Canada’s deficit, Singh said Wednesday people were worried, in part because previous Liberal and Conservative governments fixed it by raising taxes or cutting programs.
Singh says the NDP has a third option: asking the “ultra rich to pay their fair share.”
“One of our plans is to make sure that we have a wealth tax, that we have a pandemic tax on profiteers,” he said in Wednesday’s announcement.
He added that he would target web giants such as Google, Netflix and Amazon.
“Our plan is to make the ultra-rich, the ultra-rich, and the ultra-rich corporations pay.”
In its April budget, the federal Liberal government forecast a deficit of $ 154.7 billion this fiscal year, after a record $ 354.7 billion last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole has said he will balance the budget over the next decade and better control government spending.
On Thursday, the Parliamentary Budget Officer is expected to release an estimate of the revenue the federal government could generate from a one-time tax on assets worth more than $ 10 million. Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith introduced the idea to the House of Commons in February as a way to tackle wealth inequality.
-With files from Jordan Press
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on July 14, 2021.