“Revenue has dropped off and they are scrambling right now,” he said of the Conservative government. “They are not coming clean to Canadians.”
Last week Cullen called on the government to provide a fiscal update in the wake of plummeting oil prices, which have an impact on the federal budget.
It shouldn’t be too difficult for the government to provide an economic update, Cullen said, adding it has the numbers, it’s just not releasing them.
“Now we’re running into the question of whether the Conservatives have spent the (federal budget) surplus before they even got a surplus,” Cullen said Thursday.
A reality check, which government’s regularly provide, would tell the country where it stands fiscally.
“Instead, we have a finance minister who is ducking under the covers, crossing his fingers and hoping things get better on their own,” Cullen said. “We’re in some real trouble. The Canadian economy, last year, grew much more slowly than our population grew.”
Part of the problem, according to the NDP, is that the Canadian government relies heavily on the oil patch for economic prosperity. Part of the NDP platform for this year’s election is to diversify the economy by helping rebuild the manufacturing sector.
Another plank is a 20 per cent tax cut for small businesses. Coupled with that would be a tax increase for larger businesses. Cullen says he has been talking with some the largest businesses in the country and says they are not opposed to the NDP plan.
“(Large businesses) will pay a rate higher than they’re paying right now, but still incredibly competitive versus the United States or any of our competitors,” he said. “Everybody needs to pay their fair share.”
Cullen said small businesses create eight out of every 10 jobs, so that’s where some tax relief would go under an NDP government.
“We’ve been getting good accolades from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, from other small business associations across Canada,” he said.