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"The government has money to waste, the government has money to steal, the government has money to spend on benefits for a few .... It's time for benefits for mainstream Canadians, hardworking people who pay their taxes, who play by the rules."
Grubel told the Vancouver Sun last month that "cutting the GST rather than business or personal income taxes may be good politics, but it is definitely very bad economics."
Grubel and several other economists say business and personal income taxes are a much stronger drag on the economy because they create a disincentive for consumers.
Moreover, a humming economic engine means that a lower GST and hotter spending trends could help force up interest rates.
Reached Thursday, Grubel said he stands by his assessment but declined to comment further until Harper releases his full platform.
Dr. Herbert G. Grubel
Senior Fellow, The Fraser Institute
Herbert G. Grubel is a Senior Fellow at The Fraser Institute, and Professor of Economics (Emeritus), Simon Fraser University. He has a B.A. from Rutgers University and a Ph.D. in economics from Yale University. He has taught full-time at Stanford University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Pennsylvania; and has had temporary appointments at universities in Berlin, Singapore, Cape Town, Nairobi, Oxford, and Canberra. Herbert Grubel was the Reform Party Member of Parliament for Capliano-Howe Sound from 1993 to 1997, serving as the Finance Critic from 1995 to 1997. He has published 16 books and 180 professional articles in economics dealing with international trade and finance and a wide range of economic policy issues.
Layton's proposal includes four key points:
A sustained and serious commitment to research and development so Canadian auto plants can build the cars of the future.
Incentives that would encourage retooling of plants and launching of new products.
Negotiations with Korea and Japan to open those markets to Canadian-built cars.
A national border infrastructure program.
Layton challenged the other parties to endorse the NDP proposal. He said he wants to see the plan adopted, no matter who forms the government following the Jan. 23 election.
"Any political party hoping to work with us in the next Parliament had better understand that an early, comprehensive, effective auto strategy must be part of the agenda," he said.
Layton presents NDP's auto action plan
Mr. Layton spoke to a small group of students at the University of Toronto, where he also said his party would restore what he estimates was $4-billion the Liberals cut from postsecondary education in the 1990s.
He said the new spending would be paid for by scrapping the corporate tax cuts the Liberals announced in their fiscal update in November.
Layton vows to restore college funding