POLITICS
05/24/2019 16:49 EDT | Updated 05/24/2019 16:52 EDT

Scheer Scraps Pledge To Balance Budget In 2 Years, Blames Liberals

The Conservative leader says his government would get it done in 5 years.

Darryl Dyck/CP
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer speaks at an event hosted by the Canadian Club of Vancouver, in Vancouver, on May 24, 2019.

VANCOUVER — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says the economy has become such a mess under the Liberals that it would take a Conservative government five years to clean it up.

He accused the Liberal government of embarking on a “deficit spree” and spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds since 2017, adding balancing the budget in the short-term is “impossible.”

Scheer says even the most optimistic projections don’t have the Liberals doing so for 20 more years — but the Conservatives would do so in a quarter of that time.

Watch: Scheer promises energy corridor to get pipelines built

 

He made the remarks in a speech to members of the Canadian Club at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, where he also said he was pleased with a court ruling today that blocked British Columbia from restricting oil shipments into the province.

The B.C. Court of Appeal ruled that the province doesn’t have the authority to create a permitting regime for companies that wish to increase their flow of diluted bitumen, in a ruling widely considered a win for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and Alberta’s efforts to get its resources to overseas markets.

But while he called it a “helpful” ruling, Scheer added that a climate of uncertainty remains for investors in the resource sector and called on the Liberal government to put the brakes on a bill to enact new environmental assessment legislation and fast-track any judicial reviews to the Supreme Court of Canada.

 

“Obviously the Conservative party is pleased with this decision. However there still is a great deal of uncertainty as it relates to future court processes,” he said.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation accused Scheer of breaking his word on his previous budget promise, saying in a statement that he signed a pledge in April 2017 with the federation’s youth organization promising to balance the budget within two years if he were elected.

“Canadians are already suffering the consequences of breaking a balanced budget promise: Justin Trudeau’s fiscal recklessness will mean at least $100 billion in additional debt piled on the backs of our children and grandchildren,” the statement says.  

“The longer a return to balance is delayed, the more debt will accumulate and the longer Canadians will see billions wasted on interest payments.”