MI­NOR­ITY PAR­LIA­MENT

Tax breaks, pipe­line ex­pan­sion, parental ben­e­fits on ta­ble in po­lit­i­cal horse-trad­ing //

The Peterborough Examiner - - FRONT PAGE - BRUCE CAM­PION-SMITH

OT­TAWA — Tax breaks, pipe­line ex­pan­sion, fund­ing for Toronto tran­sit and tax-free parental ben­e­fits are on the ta­ble as the po­lit­i­cal horse-trad­ing for the com­ing mi­nor­ity Par­lia­ment got un­der­way Tues­day be­tween the Lib­eral govern­ment and the op­po­si­tion.

Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau is meet­ing with the op­po­si­tion lead­ers this week as Lib­er­als plan their pri­or­i­ties for the com­ing ses­sion of Par­lia­ment, which will re­con­vene on Dec. 5.

Those pri­or­i­ties will have to win over at least one of the op­po­si­tion par­ties, whose sup­port the Lib­er­als will need to gov­ern in the mi­nor­ity Par­lia­ment.

First in the door to see Trudeau was Con­ser­va­tive Leader An­drew Scheer, who met with the prime min­is­ter for just un­der 30 min­utes Tues­day on Par­lia­ment Hill.

Scheer went into the meet­ing warning that the coun­try “is more di­vided than it ever has been.”

“We need to get to work as quickly as pos­si­ble so we can ad­dress the pri­or­i­ties of Cana­di­ans and bring our coun­try closer to­gether,” he said at the out­set of the meet­ing.

Af­ter­wards, Scheer told re­porters that he laid out pri­or­i­ties that in­cluded the na­tional en­ergy cor­ri­dor, a “road map” for com­ple­tion of the Trans Moun­tain pipe­line and el­e­ments of the Con­ser­va­tives’ en­vi­ron­men­tal plan.

“It’s up to Mr. Trudeau to find com­mon ground to get this throne speech passed. I high­lighted the ar­eas that we would be fo­cus­ing on and the parts of our plat­form that I be­lieve should be im­ple­mented, and it’s up to him to de­cide what to do with that,” Scheer said.

The Con­ser­va­tives cam­paigned hard against the Lib­er­als’ fed­eral car­bon-pric­ing scheme. Scheer had vowed that if elected, scrap­ping it would have been his party’s first pri­or­ity.

But the wish list laid out by Scheer on Tues­day and high­lighted in a state­ment from the party made no men­tion of the goal of ax­ing car­bon pric­ing.

It’s thought that the Lib­er­als will look to the New Democrats and Bloc for sup­port in the mi­nor­ity par­lia­ment.

But there was com­mon ground be­tween the Con­ser­va­tive pri­or­i­ties de­tailed Tues­day and the Lib­er­als’ cam­paign prom­ises. Scheer noted, for ex­am­ple, that both par­ties have pro­pos­als to make parental ben­e­fits tax-free.

The Con­ser­va­tives and Lib­er­als have promised fund­ing for Toronto’s sub­way ex­pan­sion. The Con­ser­va­tives want tax cuts, and promised a tax cut in ad­di­tion to niche cred­its.

Trudeau has pledged that a broad-based tax break would be his govern­ment’s first or­der of busi­ness, which he high­lighted in his meet­ing with Scheer.

But the Lib­er­als are un­likely to agree to other Con­ser­va­tive de­mands, such as the call to re­peal Bill C-48, which bans tankers along the north­ern B.C. coast, and Bill C-69, which sets out new rules for the as­sess­ment of en­ergy projects.

In the meet­ing, Trudeau also raised the re­cently ne­go­ti­ated North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment and told Scheer how im­por­tant the agree­ment was. The new pact has yet to be rat­i­fied by Par­lia­ment.

Trudeau’s Lib­er­als won 157 seats in the Oct. 21 elec­tion. That is short of the 170 seats needed for a ma­jor­ity but still gives Trudeau a strong hand by need­ing the sup­port of just one of the op­po­si­tion par­ties — the Con­ser­va­tives, Bloc Québé­cois or New Democrats — on any given is­sue.

JUSTIN TANG THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Top­ics An­drew Scheer and Justin Trudeau dis­cussed in­cluded Trans Moun­tain pipe­line and the Con­ser­va­tives’ en­vi­ron­men­tal plan.

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