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NDP Leader Jack Layton listens to a caller as he participates in a phone-in radio show during a campaign stop in Kitchener, Ont. on March 29, 2011. (Andrew Vaughan/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
NDP Leader Jack Layton listens to a caller as he participates in a phone-in radio show during a campaign stop in Kitchener, Ont. on March 29, 2011. (Andrew Vaughan/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

NDP would hike corporate taxes but reward local 'job creators' Add to ...

Small business tax down, corporate tax up. That's Jack Layton's plan for job creation.

The NDP Leader was in Oshawa on Wednesday to lay out his proposal for putting unemployed, and underemployed, Canadians back to work.

Oshawa's economy is largely dependent on a massive General Motors plant located within the city and its economic health fluctuates with the ups and downs of the auto industry.

Mr. Layton took his campaign bus to Kitchen Studio, a custom cabinet maker, to explain how he would create jobs for Canadians.

"As prime minister, I wouldn't use your hard earned tax dollars to reward companies that ship jobs to the States or overseas," he said, surrounded by saws and lathes in the large workshop. "I'll target investment to create jobs right here at home. I'll reward the job creators."

If the NDP formed the government, Mr. Layton said he would cut the small business tax rate to 9 per cent from 11 per cent. But he would also boost the corporate tax rate to the 2008 level of 19.5 per cent from its current 16.5 per cent.

The Conservatives have promised to cut corporate taxes to 15 per cent. Mr. Layton has long complained about that reduction, saying the Tories are rewarding big businesses that are not committed to creating and maintaining jobs in Canada.

In advance of the recent budget release, he stopped demanding that the Conservative government hold the line on corporate tax cuts, opting instead to try to negotiate other concessions like income assistance for poor seniors, boosts to health care and a restoration of the home retrofit plan which subsides home improvements that cut energy use.

Now that the budget is has been relegated to memory, the corporate tax hikes are back on the NDP table.

"I'll ensure that Canada's corporate tax rate contributes to our competitive edge," Mr. Layton said. But the Conservative "money for nothing" scheme has led to the disappearance of 600,000 "family-supporting, highly skilled" jobs, "many of them in communities like Oshawa."

The New Democrats would also bring in a job creation tax credit for employers of $4,500 for every new hire. And they would extend the capital cost allowances for the next four years.

Mr. Layton is spending Wednesday in the Greater Toronto Area, reaching out to voters who are still feeling the pinch of the recent economic recession.

Canada's unemployment rate is at 7.8 per cent and employment has risen by 1.9 per cent over the past 12 months as the country crawled back from the economic downturn. But, in Oshawa, the jobless rate remains high, at 8.7 per cent.

The NDP candidate in this riding, which is currently held by Conservative Colin Carrie, is Chris Buckley, the president of the local Canadian Autoworkers Union. The New Democrats have run well in this working-class community, coming within 3,200 votes of Mr. Carrie in the 2008 election.

So it is easy to understand why they party is targeting this riding.

What is more difficult to comprehend is the visit that Mr. Layton will make to Bramalea-Gore-Malton, west of Toronto, on Wednesday afternoon, where the Conservatives were in a tight race with Liberal incumbent Gurbax Singh Malhi in the last election and the New Democrats ran a distant third.

Vote splitting on the centre-left in that riding could be a gift for the Conservatives and put them one step closer to a majority.

Late Wednesday afternoon, the New Democrats will hold a rally in another Liberal riding, St, Paul's in downtown Toronto where Liberal Carolyn Bennett trounced her opponents in 2008.

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