Liberals pressure government on corporate tax

Thu Dec 30, 2010 2:38pm EST
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By Louise Egan

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Opposition parties should unite to fight corporate tax cuts planned by the Conservative government, the Liberal Party said on Thursday amid expectations it may seek to trigger an election next year.

The Liberals, the largest opposition party in Parliament, vow to vote against the next budget, expected in early 2011, unless the government reverses the tax cuts. But it can only defeat the plan if joined by the other two opposition parties.

"It's a major expenditure and it significantly impacts the fiscal capacity of the country, so we would view it as essential that the government reverse its position on that issue," said Liberal legislator Scott Brison.

The Liberals support the tax cuts but only at a later date after Ottawa has eliminated its budget deficit, he said.

The left-leaning New Democratic Party has already said it wants the tax cuts canceled. But the NDP and the government do have some "common ground" on other budget-related items, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty told Reuters earlier this month.

Flaherty's "pre-budget overtures" to the NDP worry the Liberals and prompted their call on Thursday for the Liberals and NDP to join forces.

"If the Conservatives don't change course on corporate tax cuts, we hope that the NDP do not flip flop and support the budget," Brison said.

The ruling Conservatives have a minority of seats in the House of Commons. They need the support of at least some opposition legislators to pass confidence votes like the budget and remain in power.   Continued...