New anti-tax political party taking shape in Manitoba as election draws near
The party is already lining up candidates and has an interim leader in Taz Stuart, who used to head the City of Winnipeg's mosquito-fighting program. (File image)
Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, January 21, 2016 1:55PM CST
Last Updated Thursday, January 21, 2016 3:30PM CST
WINNIPEG -- A new political party focusing on extensive tax cuts is aiming to be in place for the April 19 Manitoba election.
The Manitoba Party's platform includes a promise to cut the provincial sales tax to five per cent from eight. The party also says it would institute a flat income tax of 10 per cent to replace current progressive tax brackets that top out at 17.4 per cent.
The party also says it would scrap the province's business payroll tax, which brings in hundreds of millions of dollars each year.
The aim, the party's president says, would be to leave taxpayers and businesses with more money to boost the economy and create jobs.
"I think everybody knows that taxation is a fine, a penalty, a deterrent," Gary Marshall said Thursday.
"If you alleviate that punishment ... people will be far more inclined to produce, to be productive, to work harder."
Marshall, a dialysis technologist with an interest in government economics, believes his group offers voters a right-leaning alternative to the province's three main parties. It has started filing paperwork with Elections Manitoba, including the 2,500 signatures required to form an official party.
The party is lining up candidates and has an interim leader in Taz Stuart, who used to head the City of Winnipeg's mosquito-fighting program. Stuart finished second in a run for a seat on city council in 2014.
Stuart plans to run in the Fort Whyte constituency against Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister, Marshall said.
Other prospective candidates include former Liberals Joe Chan and Bob Axworthy. Chan has run unsuccessfully at the provincial and municipal level. He stirred up controversy in the last Winnipeg municipal election when he compared his main opponent to the devil.
Axworthy finished a distant third in a 2013 run for the Manitoba Liberal leadership and later quit the party.
Also planning to run is Kim Edwards, a longtime critic of the province's child-welfare system, who staged a hunger protest on the grounds of the legislature in 2013.
The Manitoba Party is hoping to gain official status with Elections Manitoba by the end of the month and field candidates in at least half of the province's 57 constituencies.