- We'll get the opposition parties' take on the surplus and the falling price of oil and a number of other issues in a minute. But of course we always want to hear from you. After all, it's an election season coming up and you will decide what matters, not the politicians. - So, we've got the government's side of the picture, internationally and domestically on the oil prices, on jobs, but the election is coming in 2015, the election strategists are already hard at work, they are essentially the political elves that are really working over the season right now. What does the opposition think about this? Well, they're also preparing their election platforms right now and let's get their take on these critical issues. Joining me now, the Liberal deputy leader Ralph Goodale and the NDP House leader, Peter Julian. Gentlemen, good morning and welcome back to "The House".
RALPH GOODALE (LIBERAL DEPUTY LEADER): Good morning
PETER JULIAN (NDP HOUSE LEADER): Good morning, Evan.
EVAN SOLOMON (HOST): Well, we're heading into the election year and let's get through a couple of critical issues facing us. I'll start with you Mister Julian. A lot of economic conversations in the new year revolving around the plummeting price of oil and the impact that will have on the surplus. In your view, should they force the government, or your own party, to drastically review the fiscal outlook?
PETER JULIAN (NDP HOUSE LEADER): Well, we always take a look at the finances when we look at what we can put forward for the Canadian public. But one of the key elements that I don't think has been part of this discussion on the price of oil is the fact that the clean energy sector is booming around the world; it's a trillion dollar of investment now that will grow over the course of the next few years to three trillion dollars, and that's a major job driver in many other countries, including in Germany, and yet Canada has not made any investments at all to really stimulate the clean energy sector, and that ultimately that is something that can lead to a lot more job creation in Canada as well as provide more revenues to government coffers. So, it's I think...
EVAN SOLOMON (HOST): But just on the oil surplus side, do you have to recalculate if there is no surplus, or if the surplus is diminished? Would your party reconsider big ticket promises like the childcare issue which will cost billions of dollars.
PETER JULIAN (NDP HOUSE LEADER): We always cost, as you know from previous election campaigns, we cost our commitments, we'll be taking that into consideration when we look at our platform and what we put forward as an offer to Canadians.
EVAN SOLOMON (HOST): The price of oil will have an impact on all sorts of things, Ralph Goodale, from your point of view, let's talk about the surplus, because this coming election will be about big ticket promises, income splitting for the Conservatives, national childcare program for the NDP and the Liberals have hinted at big infrastructure promises at how to spend the surplus. Will there be a surplus next year?
RALPH GOODALE (LIBERAL DEPUTY LEADER): Well, there are some cushions built into the fiscal framework that could protect the government's financial position to a certain extent. It depends on how low the price goes, and more especially it depends on how long it stays there. the point is, I think, that Canada needs an aggressive agenda for economic growth. We also need to see substantial growth and expansion in the other dimensions of the economy; that's why we have proposed for a long time a major push toward infrastructure and post-secondary education and research and development. And we need to see a very sensible link between the environment and the economy, which does include investment in cleaner energy and in new technology and energy efficiency.
EVAN SOLOMON (HOST): Can I just stop you there, Mister Goodale? Let me just stop you there, because connecting these two issues is important, the plummeting price of oil and the idea of pricing carbon and the environment. The Prime Minister said it would "crazy, crazy to unilaterally put regulations in the oil and gas industry and price carbon, especially a time when oil prices are low and that could hurt the economy". Mister Goodale, is this the time, when oil prices are low, to put a price on carbon?
RALPH GOODALE (LIBERAL DEPUTY LEADER): You've got to have an intelligent conversation with the other players within Confederation, the provinces, to find the proper way forward, and this government has just totally neglected that dimensions and the consequence of that is that Canada is losing access to world markets. If Mister Harper had a more credible environmental record, Canada would have greater market access globally for our energy resources.
EVAN SOLOMON (HOST): I want to move on to something else, which will be a very important issue in the new year and the campaign, but also important now: Canada's presence in Iraq. The six-month reassessment is coming up fast. Peter Julian, will your party continue oppose any military role for Canada against ISIS?
PETER JULIAN (NDP HOUSE LEADER): We're going to continue to press for debates in the House of Commons on this. The extension has to be something that's dated as well and we're going to continue to press for humanitarian support for the victims.
EVAN SOLOMON (HOST): But does that mean opposing the military side?
PETER JULIAN (NDP HOUSE LEADER): For the moment, I don't think the case has been made. And we've been saying, very very clearly, that the government needs to be transparent on this issue. We don't think the government has been.
EVAN SOLOMON (HOST): Mister Goodale, what about your party? You also oppose the combat mission in Iraq, what's your view?
RALPH GOODALE (LIBERAL DEPUTY LEADER): Well, our view is that Canada obviously needs to play a strong and robust role in dealing with these issues globally and use the best talents and the assets and resources that we have to the greatest effect.
EVAN SOLOMON (HOST): So, would the Liberals continue to oppose any extension of the combat mission?
RALPH GOODALE (LIBERAL DEPUTY LEADER): We certainly have not seen any evidence to change our minds.
EVAN SOLOMON (HOST): Peter Julian, before I let you go, I've got to ask you about, obviously, Glenn Thibeault, the former caucus chair of the party who surprised everyone, didn't inform Thomas Mulcair and has decided to quit the party and join the provincial liberal party, not the provincial NDP party. He told me, he didn't see eye-to-eye with the party on some critical issues, especially the issue of gun control, a gun registry that Thomas Mulcair has raised again. How damaging is it that the former caucus chair from Northern Ontario, Sudbury region, no longer sees eye-to-eye with Thomas Mulcair and the party?
PETER JULIAN (NDP HOUSE LEADER): I think Glenn Thibeault would have to explain himself on that, but obviously what we have is a very united caucus that works extremely well together. And Mister Thibeault's decision is perplexing to very many people in Sudbury and the public reaction, which has been almost universally negative, I think, attests to that.
EVAN SOLOMON (HOST): Alright, I've got to leave it there today. Ralph Goodale, Peter Julian, we are in a long campaign now toward the next federal election, if indeed it is in October and not the spring. But either way, we wish you both and all your families a happy and healthy holiday and we look forward to a really interesting campaign in the new year. Thanks so much.
RALPH GOODALE (LIBERAL DEPUTY LEADER): Thank you from a very united liberal caucus.
PETER JULIAN (NDP HOUSE LEADER): Thanks.
RALPH GOODALE (LIBERAL DEPUTY LEADER): And thanks and merry Christmas to all your listeners, Evan.
EVAN SOLOMON (HOST): Enjoy the Holidays, gentlemen, thanks so much.
RALPH GOODALE (LIBERAL DEPUTY LEADER): All the very best.
PETER JULIAN (NDP HOUSE LEADER): Thank you.