People’s Party leader Maxime Bernier yesterday opened his national campaign with a pledge not to promise any new programs. The Party polled 294,092 votes in the 2019 campaign but did not elect an MP.
"I promise not to play this silly game," said Bernier. "I will not be appealing to your immediate self-interest but to your intelligence and love of our country."
The Parliamentary Budget Office, in costing of campaign platforms in the last election, concluded the People’s Party was the only one of six parties in the Commons that did not propose any new taxes, reported Blacklock's. The Party has campaigned to balance the budget within two years, abolish all corporate subsidies and privatize the CBC.
Campaigning in Etobicoke, Ontario, Bernier on Tuesday said Parliament could not afford new programs. He said, from tax credits to subsidies, grants and privileges to “special interests,” and funding for community projects, he notes all of this is financed with "borrowed money."
"We already know that every day over the next five weeks, the leaders of the other establishment parties will make costly and unrealistic promises to bribe Canadians and buy their votes," said Bernier. "They will promise new spending programs that we cannot afford."
"All the other parties play this vote-buying game," said Bernier. "We know many of these promises are just lies and that the next government will not keep them."
"This bidding war is also the reason why the government keeps getting bigger and keeps controlling more of our economy and our lives, year after year."
Bernier, as then-Conservative Minister of Industry in 2006, cancelled a $3 billion corporate subsidy program called Technology Partnerships Canada. "Taxpayers have a right to know how their money is being managed," said Bernier at the time.
Records show the program dating from 1996 paid large subsidies to corporations for “research and development,” including $827 million to Pratt & Whitney Canada, $39.6 million to Research In Motion Ltd., $33 million to IBM Canada, $24.8 million to Ballard Power Systems Inc., $9 million to DuPont Canada Inc., $8 million to Raytheon Canada Ltd. and $4.6 million to Lockheed Martin Canada Inc.
Bernier in 2018 sponsored Bill C-396, An Act To Amend The Department Of Industry Act, to mandate quarterly disclosure of all loans, grants and guarantees to corporations, including terms and conditions of repayment. The Commons rejected the bill by a 159-119 vote.
"It cannot be confidential if it is public money," said Bernier. "It is important for Canadians to know what happened with that money."
"It’s public money," he said. "It’s not a private transaction. That’s why the details must be public."