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Minister Bill Morneau takes plan for a strong middle class to Dieppe

Click to play video 'Minister Bill Morneau takes plan for strong middle class to Dieppe' Minister Bill Morneau takes plan for strong middle class to Dieppe
WATCH ABOVE: The federal finance minister took his plan to strengthen the country’s middles class to Dieppe today, but was put on the defensive over the government’s plans to close tax loop holes. Paul Cormier has the story on what went wrong.

Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau got a warm reception from the more than 2oo people gathered at the Wingate Hotel in Dieppe on Tuesday as he brought his plan for a strong middle class to the community.

Morneau addressed the business community at a luncheon, organised by the Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce, where he highlighted key measures the federal government has taken to help the middle class. This included strengthening the Canada pension plan, cutting taxes, while raising it for the richest one per cent, and last year’s introduction of the Canada child benefit program.

“In this community (Moncton, Dieppe, Riverview), there are 15,000 kids who benefit from the Canada Child Benefit. For those kids living in the community, we did the math, their families receive on average $570 each month tax free,” Morneau said.

READ: As the Canada Child Benefit turns 1, who has actually benefited?

Following his remarks, Morneau sat with Parliamentary Secretary Ginette Petitpas Taylor to answer questions from the audience. touching on various subjects including how to reduce student debt.

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“We took a look at student grants for lower income and middle income Canadians and we increased it by 50 per cent,” he said. “The first way to reduce student debt is to to have less of it. The second thing we did was we said no student coming out of university is gonna have to pay off their debt until they get to an annual income of $25,000” Morneau said

Morneau also spoke about new actions to improve the fairness of Canada’s tax system, by closing tax loopholes and amending existing rules so that people in similar circumstances pay similar amounts of tax.

READ MORE: Reality check: Will closing tax loopholes for the rich really help the middle class?

“If people are finding ways to change their income to capital gains through tax planning that we don’t think is appropriate, if people are using their business to make passive investments that aren’t in their business, we believe that that puts them in an advantage situation,” Morneau said. “So we want to create a level playing field, that’s what we aspire to do.”