Goodale: Tax cuts and new benefit cheques will be first priorities

Before being elected to a majority government on Oct. 19, the Liberals promised major policy changes both domestically and abroad.

But once the business of selecting a cabinet, swearing in new ministers and settling 184 MPs (150 of whom are new) into their roles is done, it’s unlikely there will be much time left before the new year to pass legislation.

This according to Saskatchewan Liberal MP Ralph Goodale, a veteran member of the House of Commons who handily re-took his riding of Regina-Wascana.

Goodale joined The West Block‘s Vassy Kapelos to talk about his party’s priorities moving forward, and said it’s “unlikely” Parliament will meet before Christmas.

“But that remains to be seen,” Goodale added. “That will be up to the new government to determine.”

Among the first orders of business once Parliament does resume, he said, will be introducing the promised tax cuts for the subset of Canadians the Liberals have deemed “middle-class” earners.

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“Coupled with that, of course, is the new Canada Child Benefit that also assists parents in raising families with children, and the improvements in the investments in public infrastructure,” Goodale said. “Those are the core economic elements of our platform and they remain very firm commitments.”

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The Canada Child Benefit is expected to replace the current Universal Child Care Benefit introduced by the Harper government, but Goodale did not say when the transition would occur.

In addition to the economic elements of the Liberal platform, Goodale said prime-minister-designate Justin Trudeau will be focusing on fulfilling the Liberal promise to pull Canada out of the bombing campaign against the Islamic State. He would not say if Canada would remain in the bombing mission until March, as initially promised by the Conservative government.

The Liberals also promised to get 25,000 refugees into the country by the end of the year. According to Goodale, that is still a realistic target, even given the security issues involved.

“We’re certainly encouraged by the other experts who have said that this is doable in the time frame that’s available. I think of General [Rick] Hillier for example, and General [Romeo] Dallaire, both of whom have extensive experience in matters of this kind and they are logistical experts,” he said. “Obviously that is our commitment and we’re working very hard to achieve it.”

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