Politics

What we know — and what we think we know — is in each party platform ahead of the election

OTTAWA — An election may kick off within days, but of the four major national parties — the Liberals, Conservatives, New Democrats and Greens — only the NDP has released a full platform so far. The other parties, however, have still given plenty of hints and promises about what they plan to campaign on. Here’s a taste of what voters can expect to see from each party.

The Liberal Party

Pharmacare

Some form of public insurance drug coverage will be in the Liberal platform; the big question is how universal it will be. The Liberal government already commissioned a report that ended up recommending a universal, single-payer system to be phased in by 2027. The catch: it would cost $15 billion annually once fully set up. Finance Minister Bill Morneau has previously said he prefers a more limited (and cheaper) system to fill the gaps left by workplace insurance plans, so it remains to be seen what the Liberals settle on.

Cell phone bills

Both the National Post and Reuters have reported the Liberals are planning to crack down on cell phone and internet bills. Details are not known, but Reuters reported it could be a cap on bills or a requirement for major telecom companies to offer access to their infrastructure to smaller companies.

Gun control

Last year, Border Security Minister Bill Blair oversaw consultations on banning handguns in Canada. He has now said that such a ban would be ineffective and expensive (given the required buy-back of existing guns). Instead, the Liberals have floated the possibility of banning more assault-style rifles and empowering cities to implement their own gun ban policies.

Middle class relief

Sources have told the National Post to expect some action for middle class finances — no surprise for a party constantly promising to help “the middle class and those working hard to join it.” Last election, the Liberals promised and delivered an income tax cut paid for by higher taxes on the wealthy. It’s not yet known what the relief will look like this time around.


In this file photo taken on September 17, 2018, Andrew Scheer, Conservative Party leader, listens to questions on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario.

– Canada’s opposition leader on Sunday, April 7, 2019 revealed PLARS HAGBERG/AFP/Getty Images

The Conservative Party

Heating bills

The Conservatives have promised to remove GST from home heating and energy bills, saving the average Canadian $107 per year — but costing the federal treasury $1.5 billion, according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer. The Conservatives are in a difficult place when it comes to pricey promises, as they also want to get the budget back to balance (the Liberals forecast a $20-billion deficit this year). Leader Andrew Scheer has given himself some room to manoeuvre by saying it will take five years after he’s elected to get to balance.

Environment

The Conservatives are fighting an all-out battle against the Liberals’ carbon tax, as the cost of fuel and other consumer goods is a big part of their campaign theme that Canadians are only getting by instead of getting ahead. They released their own environment plan in June, with an emphasis on capping emissions from large emitters and forcing violators to fund green technology. But the plan does not estimate how much it will actually reduce emissions, and voters who care about the environment will have to decide if it does enough.

Gun control

As the Liberals tighten gun control, they’ll paint the Conservatives as going in the opposite direction — so the Conservatives have already put out their own plan. It includes a lifetime ban on owning guns for anyone convicted of gang-related activity or certain violent crimes; a task force on preventing guns from being smuggled over the border, and gun seizures for people detained under provincial mental health legislation. The party also plans to repeal Bill C-71, Liberal legislation passed this year that Conservatives say just adds burdens on legal gun owners instead of criminals.


NDP leader Jagmeet Singh gestures to a section of the crowd as he speaks to the Canadian Teachers Federation annual general meeting in Ottawa, Thursday July 11, 2019.

CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

The New Democratic Party

Pharmacare

If the NDP are going to find room on the left to steal votes from the Liberals, pharmacare will be key. While the Liberals are proceeding cautiously, the NDP are promising to go full steam ahead with universal pharmacare starting in 2020, despite the steep cost. The party is also promising to publicly fund dental care, vision care, mental health care and hearing care within 10 years. Is this all realistically affordable? That part is less clear, as their released plan doesn’t include full costing.

Taxes

One way the NDP intends to pay for its expensive healthcare agenda is to hike certain taxes. Their platform calls for the highest income tax bracket to go from 33 per cent to 35 per cent, and the corporate tax rate to go from 15 to 18 per cent. The party is also calling for a wealth tax of one per cent on Canadians’ net worth above $20 million, and further action to crack down on tax loopholes for the rich.

Affordability

The NDP will put focus on reducing costs for families and lower-income households. Their platform promises $1 billion in immediate new spending on child care, a price cap on cell phone and internet bills, and the creation of 500,000 units of affordable housing in 10 years. More vaguely, the party says it will work with provinces “to cap and reduce tuition fees and (build) towards making post-secondary education part of our public education system.”


Green Party leader Elizabeth May speaks with reporters about the results of a by-election, Tuesday,May 7, 2019 in Ottawa.

CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

The Green Party

The Greens haven’t released a full platform, but they do have a detailed document on a subject you’ll never guess. Okay, you probably did: it’s the environment. The party has a 20-step climate plan to reduce emissions by 60 per cent (against 2005 levels) by 2030, and to get to zero emissions by 2050.

Some of the steps are on the quirky side, such as an all-party “war cabinet” on climate to reduce partisanship. But there are also plenty of tough environmental measures: banning fracking, ending all imports of foreign oil, and ensuring that by 2030 all fossil fuel electricity generation is ended, all new cars sold are electric, and every single building in Canada has been retrofitted to be carbon neutral.

With files from Maura Forrest and John Ivison

Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Close