Federal party leaders’ claims from the English-language debate

All six of the major federal party leaders met on the same debate stage for the first time during the election on Monday night.

The wide-ranging discussion touched on many topics and included significant claims from all the leaders — some about their own records and proposals and others levelled at their political rivals.

The six main federal party leaders battled it out in the English-language debate, looking to distinguish themselves from the pack in the final two weeks of the campaign. 17:07

Throughout the campaign, CBC News has been assessing the truthfulness and accuracy of statements from federal politicians and their parties.

Here is a round up of fact checks on some of the most notable claims made during the debate.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau

The claim: Trudeau said his government has brought Canada “three quarters of the way” to achieving an emissions reduction target laid out in the Paris Agreement, which is 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

The facts: If Canada were to meet its Paris Agreement target, the country would emit about 513 megatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in 2030.

In 2017, the most recent year for which data is currently available, Canada’s output was 716 megatonnes, or two per cent below 2005 levels.

Environment and Climate Change Canada said in a January report that even under a best-case scenario — one that takes into account policies that are already in place and those that are “under development but have not yet been fully implemented” —  our total emissions in 2030 will be about 592 megatonnes.

That’s 19 per cent below 2005 levels, or just under two-thirds of the way to the target.

The Liberals’ say that future policies and technologies will mean Canada meets the target, or even exceeds it. 

At the current moment in time, however, the claim is misleading.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer

The claim: Scheer said that a Conservative government would pay for its proposed tax cut and credits by reducing “corporate welfare” and slashing “Canada’s foreign aid budget by 25 per cent.”

The facts: The Tories say they can save a combined $3 billion by eliminating some “corporate handouts” and cutting the foreign aid budget.

But that figure amounts to only a fraction of the costs associated with the party’s tax proposals. 

The Parliamentary Budget Officer estimates that reducing the rate paid in the lowest-income tax bracket alone would cost about $4.9 billion by 2022.

Further, the Conservatives haven’t specified which corporate subsidies might be scrapped and there are lingering questions about their math on foreign aid.

Scheer’s implication that those two cost-saving measures would pay for his party’s proposed tax changes is misleading.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh

The claim: Singh said, as he has numerous times on the campaign trail, that the Trudeau government gave $14 billion to corporations so that they could “buy jets and limousines.”

The facts: In its fall economic statement last year, the federal government announced $14 billion in tax incentives for Canadian businesses over the next six years. 

Under the plan, businesses can entirely write off the costs of some machinery and clean energy equipment, as well as an increased portion of new assets.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau suggested at the time that the policy was intended to help Canadian businesses keep pace with U.S. competitors. In 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump’s government cut the country’s corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 per cent. 

Christopher Ragan, an associate professor of economics at McGill University, told the Canadian Press that Singh is being misleading when he implies only the rich will benefit from the move.

“It’s not just about private jets and limousines,” he said. “It’s about driving investment in the economy, which drives growth and drives productivity.”

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May

The claim: “I’m very pleased that we are the party standing on stage today that has a full platform, has the budget numbers publicly accessible and approved as a budget that passes muster by Kevin Page and the Institute for Fiscal Studies and Democracy.” 

The facts: The Green Party was the first in the current campaign to attach a price tag to its platform. The initial costing was not particularly well-received by many economists. One consistent criticism was that the party’s fiscal outlook was reliant on highly uncertain revenue projections.

Kevin Page is a former Parliamentary Budget Officer who know heads the Institute for Fiscal Studies and Democracy at the University of Ottawa. Throughout the campaign, Page and his team have been independently evaluating the fiscal merits of the party’s platforms.

He initially gave the Greens’ plan a failing grade. The party then revised its platform costing and provided Page with additional information about its baseline economic assumptions.

The updated platform submission got a passing mark for its more realistic projections and overall transparency, though Page said it was still wanting when it comes to “responsible fiscal management.” 

The re-evaluation by Page and his team means May’s claim is mostly true, but there are still questions about the long-term sustainability of the Greens’ proposed measures for fiscal sustainability.

Read more at CBC.ca