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Scheer says ‘corporate welfare’ would be a Conservative target in first 100 days of government

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Andrew Scheer began on Saturday to lay out what he would do in the first 100 days of a Conservative government — and he pledged to pin an early bull’s-eye on what he called “frivolous spending.”

With a little over a week until election day, the Conservative leader said that, if elected prime minister, he would name a former British Columbia finance minister and a former Via Rail CEO to head a commission to review federal subsidies to corporations.

“Right now, the Liberal government gives taxpayers’ dollars to wealthy executives, shareholders and foreign companies. This is as ridiculous as it is unacceptable,” Scheer said during a campaign stop in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby.

“Your money shouldn’t go to millionaires running billion-dollar companies. Enough is enough.”

Scheer has pledged to slash $1.5 billion annually from what he has labelled “corporate welfare” to private-sector companies. The effort would be led by ex-B.C. finance minister Kevin Falcon and Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, formerly of Via Rail.

The spending cut would be one component of billions more in cuts — including reductions to foreign aid and public-service spending — that Scheer said would help a Conservative government balance the budget in five years.

He insisted the savings will also enable the Conservatives to lower income taxes and increase federal transfers to provinces on key services like health care, education and social programs by at least three per cent per year.

“Canadians can have confidence knowing that the federal government will continue to be a partner in ensuring that Canadians will get the services that they deserve,” he said.