Liberals are going to town over comments a star Toronto NDP candidate made about "inevitable" budget cuts and accusing the party of planning slashes to health care and child care funding.
NDP candidate Andrew Thomson appeared on CBC's Power & Politics Tuesday and told host Rosemary Barton that in pursuit of a balanced budget, some cuts are "inevitable." Thomson previously served as Saskatchewan's finance minister under former NDP premier Lorne Calvert.
"As a former former finance minister, I know that budgeting first and foremost is about priorities. And you move the things that are most important to Canadian people to the top of that budget and you work your way down to the rest of the list," he said.
Barton raised the proposition that "some stuff has to go," to which Thomson responded, "I think that's inevitable."
When asked for specific examples of possible services and programs that may see their funding reduced, Thomson kept his cards close to the vest, saying details will be released as the campaign unfolds.
The exchange was reused in a Liberal Party attack posted to Facebook on Wednesday. An "NDP: Cuts Inevitable" graphic appears for most of the 30-second clip.
Here's the exchange in full:
Thomas Mulcair pledged this week that an elected NDP government would not entertain the thought of a deficit and would balance the budget right away.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau responded by accusing Mulcair of being open to austerity cuts as a means of keeping red ink away from finance books.
In a Liberal press release Wednesday, University-Rosedale candidate Chrystia Freeland said Mulcair's "balanced budget austerity pledge" will hurt middle class families. She also accused the party of being open to making "massive" cuts.
"Mulcair's phony rhetoric is a mirage," she said.
On Thursday, a second Liberal press release hammered the NDP over Thomson’s "inevitable" budget cuts remark.
It claimed Mulcair and Thomson are keen to "impose massive cuts and reverse course on multi-billion-dollar NDP spending commitments like health care, child care, and public transit."
Sun Media reporter David Akin called the Liberal claims "rather hyperbolic" and perhaps desperate attempt to smear the NDP.
Party spokesperson George Soule pointed to comments Mulcair and Thomson made at a Toronto event Thursday when The Huffington Post Canada asked the NDP to comment on the Liberals' latest attack.
Thomson, who will run against finance minister Joe Oliver in the Toronto riding of Eglinton-Lawrence, was introduced by Mulcair earlier this month as a high-profile candidate to bolster the party's economic platform.
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