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Ford would cancel some business grants

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NIAGARA FALLS, Ont.—The Progressive Conservatives would cancel some business support programs if they form government next month but keep others, Doug Ford's campaign said yesterday.

The Tory leader was in Niagara Falls, Ont. to talk about his plan to attract and retain business in Ontario, including lowering corporate income taxes from 11.5 percent to 10.5 percent.

The Liberals pointed out that Ford later held a photo-op at a company in Smithville, Ont. that received some federal funding to expand, which the Liberals called hypocritical since Ford has railed against so-called “corporate welfare.”

When asked if he supported such programs, Ford said the incentives he would give businesses in Ontario include eliminating red tape and regulations, lowering hydro rates, and fighting a federally-mandated carbon tax.

“If we're going to give incentives to anyone, we're going to give incentives to the companies here in Ontario, to the small, medium, and large businesses rather than benefiting our U.S. neighbours, U.S. companies that are taking your jobs,” he said.

Ford added “instead of picking winners and losers,” he would lower business taxes for everyone.

Spokeswoman Melissa Lantsman later clarified that Ford would maintain regional economic development funds because some areas need help attracting investments but he would get rid of the Jobs and Prosperity Fund, which she criticized as being “used to hand out money to hand-picked insiders including Liberal donors.”

Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne called Ford's position “ridiculous” for someone who wants to form government.

“On the one hand, he calls partnering with business corporate welfare and then on the other hand he says, 'But we'll keep investing through the regional economic development plans,'” she noted.

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