OTTAWA — Roman Baber is a lawyer and former Ontario member of provincial parliament who is running for the federal Conservative party leadership. He broke ranks with Premier Doug Ford more than once, criticizing his own government's autism strategy and earning an ouster from caucus after releasing an open letter lambasting its lockdown policy in early 2021.
Here's a look at his key policy promises:
— On the pandemic: Baber says he would pass legislation to ban future vaccine passports, mandates and "medical discrimination." He would freeze federal transfers to provinces that allow "any private or provincially regulated institution to implement vaccine passports or mandates." He would also initiate an inquiry into the government's handling of COVID-19.
— On energy and the environment: Baber would end the federal carbon price, try to resurrect pipeline projects including Energy East and Northern Gateway and legislate a formal definition of the "duty to consult" (the principle that requires governments to consult Indigenous peoples on proposed projects). He would increase tree-planting. He also promises to repeal Bill C-69, the Liberal overhaul of project impact assessments — though his election platform incorrectly calls it "Bill 96."
— On health policy: Baber would negotiate with provinces a "capital injection for the construction of hospitals." He would also enact a National Autism Plan and match provincial spending on autism treatment up to $500 million.
— On housing: Baber would double the RRSP exemption for first-time homebuyers, from $35,000 to $70,000.
— On the budget: Baber says he would balance the budget by the end of his first term of government, limit any growth in spending to the two per cent target rate of inflation, and put a freeze on hiring in the public service.
— On Indigenous Peoples: Baber says he would ensure safe drinking water for all by the end of his first term and work with Indigenous communities on natural resources and mining projects.
— On media: Baber would "eliminate all media subsidies, including funding to the CBC," and limit and regulate government advertising.
— On guns: He would repeal the Liberals' recent firearms legislation and instead shore up the Canada Border Services Agency so it has the tools to prevent illegal guns from entering the country.
— On supply management: Baber would "phase out" the practice of managing supply for Canada's dairy, poultry and egg industries, and "consider compensation and tax benefits" for affected businesses.
— On the provinces: Baber would get rid of equalization payments altogether within his first term in office, and use the savings to increase the amount of income exempt from personal income tax.
— On Quebec: He would oppose the province's Bill 21, the law banning public servants from wearing religious symbols, and Bill 96, the law shoring up French language rules in the province, "by all lawful means available."
— On defence: Baber says he would increase defence spending by 50 per cent and meet the NATO target that calls for spending levels to reach two per cent of GDP.
— On foreign policy: Baber says he would "stop pandering" to China. He would "significantly reduce" foreign aid and spend the savings on shoring up housing for veterans, as well as addictions and mental health treatment.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 1, 2022.
Marie-Danielle Smith, The Canadian Press