Everything you need to know about the parties’ platforms, from taxes and terrorism to the environment

Posted on August 3, 2015 in Governance Debates

NationalPost.com – News/Canada/Politics/Canadian Politics
August 2, 2015.   Jason Fekete, Ian MacLeod, Lee Berthiaume, Postmedia News |

Here’s your guide to the four main parties’ record and pledges as the campaign begins:



– Introduced a “family tax cut” that allows couples with children under age 18 to split up to $50,000 of income; caps non-refundable benefit at $2,000.

– Increased annual contribution limit for tax-free savings accounts (TFSAs) to $10,000 from $5,500.

– Increased Universal Child Care Benefit to $160 a month for children under age six, up from $100; added new monthly benefit of $60 for children age six to 17.

– Reduced small-business tax rate to nine per cent from current 11 per cent by 2019; have reduced corporate tax rate from about 22 per cent to 15 per cent.

– Promise to balance the budget this fiscal year.

– Increased eligibility age for receiving Old Age Security benefits to 67 from 65.

– Are examining ways for Canadians to voluntarily contribute more to the Canada Pension Plan.

The NDP promises to:

– Balance the budget in 2016.

– Not raise personal income-tax rates.

– Cancel government’s income-splitting policy for families; says it helps only wealthiest 15 per cent.

– Reverse changes to TFSA contribution limits; says higher amount helps the wealthy and does little for middle-class Canadians.

– Increase income-tax rates on Canada’s largest corporations to about the levels that existed before the Conservatives took office.

– Cut small-business tax rate to nine per cent from current 11 per cent.

– Honour the expanded Universal Child Care Benefit.

– Create $15-a-day national child care program, and create or maintain one million affordable child care spaces across Canada.

– Cancel Conservative decision to increase OAS eligibility age to 67.

– Increase Canada Pension Plan contributions and benefits for Canadians.

The Liberals promise to:

– Cut middle-class income-tax bracket to 20.5 per cent from current 22 per cent; create a new tax bracket of 33 per cent for annual incomes of more than $200,000.

– Cancel income-splitting for families; party calls it “a $2-billion tax break to the top 15 per cent of Canadians.”

– Introduce a new income-tested, tax-free monthly Canada Child Benefit that would boost payments to all families with children and annual income below $150,000.

– Cancel TFSA increase to $10,000, saying it helps well-off Canadians who need it the least.

– Retain tax breaks for small businesses but want to ensure this doesn’t primarily benefit the wealthy.

– Balance the budget in 2016.

– Cancel Conservative plan to increase OAS eligibility age to 67.

– Increase Canada Pension Plan contributions and benefits for Canadians.

The Greens promise to:

– Eliminate personal taxes on incomes below low-income cut-off of $20,000.

– Reduce federal small business tax rate to nine per cent by 2019.

– Raise corporate taxes over four years from the current level of 15 per cent to 19 per cent.

– Work with provinces to increase taxes on tobacco and alcohol.

The Conservatives have:

– Committed Canada to a military mission against ISIL, sending CF-18 fighter jets to Iraq and Syria.

– Passed Bill C-51, with broad new powers to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) to expand surveillance and actively disrupt threats to national security. The bill makes it illegal to promote terrorism; lowers the legal threshold required for police to arrest and detain suspected extremists without charge; and allows more than 100 government entities to exchange Canadians’ confidential information if it is “relevant” to a potential or suspected national security threat.

– Committed $292 million over five years to help RCMP, CSIS and the Canada Border Services Agency combat terrorism.

– Created a new parliamentary police force by integrating the former, separate House and Senate security staffs into the Parliamentary Protective Service, while also committing $39 million in additional funding for operational security measures in the Parliamentary precinct.

The NDP promises to:

– End the bombing campaign and pull out all military personnel from Iraq and Syria; boost humanitarian aid to help refugees affected by ISIL as well as investigate and prosecute war crimes.

– Repeal Bill C-51, the anti-terrorism act.

– Provide more independent review of Canada’s national security agencies.

– Support a counter-radicalization program.

The Liberals promise to:

– End the bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria but keep military trainers in Iraq and boost humanitarian aid to help refugees; allow more refugees into the country from Iraq and Syria.

– Make amendments to anti-terrorism Bill C-51 by: limiting the sharing of personal data to 17 government departments and agencies with national security responsibilities; eliminating CSIS’s new power to obtain court warrants to break the law in some cases to disrupt suspected terrorists; adding a three-year sunset provisions on some parts of the law and mandatory parliamentary reviews of the extraordinary security measures.

– Create an all-party national security oversight committee to oversee the 17 government departments and agencies with national security responsibilities.

The Greens promise to:

– Introduce a comprehensive security plan that will provide coordinated direction to the RCMP, CSIS, Canada Border Services Agency, Coast Guard and Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada.

– Ensure responses to terrorism are carried out within a framework consistent with international law.

The Conservatives have:

– Approved the Enbridge Northern Gateway oilsands pipeline that would run from Alberta to the coast of Kitimat, B.C.; support the proposed TransCanada Energy East project, a west-to-east oil pipeline from Alberta to New Brunswick; support proposed TransCanada Keystone XL oilsands pipeline from Alberta to U.S. Gulf Coast.

– Committed to reducing Canada’s emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, largely relying on provincial measures to meet that goal.

– Agreed with other G7 nations to move to a low-carbon economy by 2050 and eliminate use of fossil fuels by the end of the century.

The NDP promises to:

– Continue opposing the Northern Gateway pipeline; it initially supported concept of west-east pipeline, but says Energy East can’t be approved without more stringent environmental review process; opposes Keystone XL pipeline.

– Create a cap-and-trade system with a market price on carbon emissions; revenue from cap-and-trade would be invested in a greener energy sector in regions where dollars are generated.

– Work with provinces to create a new fund to help Canadians retrofit their homes and offices to save energy and money.

– Redirect $1 billion a year from fossil fuel subsidies to investment in the clean energy sector.

– Invest in Sustainable Development Technology Canada – including wind, hydro, solar and geothermal technologies – to create thousands of new jobs for Canadians.

The Liberals promise to:

– Continue to oppose proposed Northern Gateway pipeline; support Energy East and Keystone XL pipelines.

– Put a price on carbon pollution that allows provinces to design their own carbon pricing policies.

– Partner with provinces and territories to establish national emissions-reduction targets.

– Invest millions in clean technologies and enhance tax measures to create more green jobs.

– Introduce an environmental review process with more “teeth.”

– Hold First Ministers’ meeting with premiers within 90 days of the Paris UN climate change conference this December to establish a framework for reducing Canada’s carbon footprint.

– Increase the amount of Canada’s protected marine and coastal areas to five per cent by 2017 and 10 per cent by 2020.

– Phase out subsidies for the fossil fuel industry.

– Along with the U.S. and Mexico, develop a North American clean energy and environmental agreement.

The Greens promise to:

– Introduce carbon pricing through a fee-and-dividend system to reduce fossil fuel use and encourage private sector investment in green tech, clean energy and green jobs.

– Accelerate construction of green infrastructure, ensuring a majority of Canada’s energy needs come from renewable sources by 2025.

– Work with the provinces to ensure no new coal-fired electrical generation plants are built in Canada.

The Conservatives promise:

– $5.3 billion a year, on average, for provincial and municipal infrastructure under the New Building Canada Plan.

– A New Public Transit Fund committing the federal government to spend $250 million in 2017, $500 million in 2018 and $1 billion a year after 2019.

– $150 million for Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program to fund community and cultural infrastructure projects across the country as a way to celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial in 2017.

The NDP promises to:

– Dedicate an additional one cent of the existing 10-cents-per-litre federal gas tax to roads, bridges and other core infrastructure, reaching an additional $1.5-billion annually by the end of an NDP government’s first mandate, on top of almost $2.2 billion in existing annual gas tax transfers to municipalities.

– Develop a better transit plan with the provinces and territories and invest $1.3 billion annually over next 20 years for predictable and stable public transit funding for municipalities.

The Liberals promise to:

– Boost infrastructure funding through “alternative sources of capital” such as having large pension funds invest in major infrastructure projects in urban and rural communities.

– Provide infrastructure funding for affordable housing, public transit, transportation, climate change and “smart cities.”

– Hold a big city mayors’ meeting in Ottawa annually to discuss pressing infrastructure issues facing cities.

The Greens promise to:

– Reinvest in national rail systems, build more train cars, increase train speeds and phase in high-speed rail where feasible.

– Increase joint federal-municipal light-rail investments.

– Improve Via Rail service nationwide, including working with railway companies to improve rail infrastructure and restore VIA rail service to all major regional cities.

The Conservatives promise to:

– Increase Department of National Defence’s budget to three per cent starting in 2017-18, totalling an additional $11.8 billion over 10 years.

– Commit an additional $3.5 billion over five years toward maternal, newborn and child health initiative, on top of $2.8-billion commitment at G8 summit in 2010.

The NDP promises to:

– Increase Canada’s foreign aid to 0.7 per cent of gross national income, or GNI (Canada currently spends 0.24 per cent of GNI on foreign aid).

– Reopen the nine Veterans Affairs regional offices closed by the Conservative government.

The Liberals promise to:

– Make Canada a “world leader” at multinational institutions.

– Reverse the decline in foreign aid.

– Reopen nine Veterans Affairs regional offices closed by the Conservative government.

– Create a cabinet committee to oversee and manage Canada’s relationship with the United States.

– Host a new trilateral summit with the United States and Mexico.

The Greens promise to:

– Reduce by 30 per cent the $2.7 billion spent every year on DND consultants, contractors and other private sector contracts.

– Realign defence spending to increase emphasis on disaster assistance; shift focus away from NATO “war missions” towards UN peacekeeping contributions.

– Ensure development assistance targets the “poorest of the poor.”

The Conservatives promise to:

– Beginning in 2017–18, increase annual health funding to provinces to grow in line with nominal GDP, guaranteed to increase three per cent each year (current increases are six per cent annually).

– Retool $2-billion-per-year Labour Market Development Agreements with provinces to reorient training towards needs of employers and job seekers.

– Provide $65 million over four years, starting in 2016–17, to business and industry associations to allow them to work with post-secondary institutions to better align curricula with needs of employers.

The NDP promises to:

– Restore the six-per-cent annual increase to health-care transfers to the provinces.

– Restore door-to-door home mail delivery by Canada Post for households that lost it under Conservative government.

– Reinstate the mandatory long-form census, which the government replaced with the voluntary National Household Survey.

The Liberals promise to:

– Strengthen the federal government’s role in safeguarding the national health-care system; meet with the premiers on how to improve the system in areas such as wait times, affordability of prescription drugs, and availability of homecare.

– Restore door-to-door home mail delivery by Canada Post.

– Reinstate the long-form census and make Statistics Canada independent.

The Greens promise to:

– Ban unpaid internships.

– Boost access to apprentice programs in key trades such as electrical, plumbing, carpentry, pipefitting, welding and others.

– Develop a Youth Community and Environment Service Corps that will provide federal minimum wage employment for 40,000 youth aged 18-25 every year for four years, at cost of $1.25 billion a year; $4,000 tuition credit awarded to each participant, at the successful completion of each year-long program, that can be applied to further education and training.

The Conservatives promise to:

– Place a moratorium on new Senate appointments in an effort to pressure the provinces to accept reforms to the upper chamber or abolish it.

– Introduce legislation that would require Canadians’ approval in national referendum before first-past-the-post electoral system could be changed.

The NDP promises to:

– Replace the current first-past-the-post electoral system with a mixed member proportional system, which combines proportional representation of parties in House of Commons with direct election of MP in each riding.

– Abolish the Senate (which requires constitutional talks with the provinces).

– Strengthen the mandate and independence of the Parliamentary Budget Officer and make the position an Officer of Parliament.

The Liberals promise to:

– Introduce changes to strengthen the Access to Information system and ensure this applies to the Prime Minister’s Office and ministers’ offices.

– Create a quarterly, more detailed parliamentary expense report, and open up the secretive House of Commons Board of Internal Economy.

– Create a non-partisan, independent process for advising the prime minister on Senate appointments.

– Allow more time for questions and answers during question period, and introduce a prime minister’s question period.

– Ban partisan government ads and appoint an Advertising Commissioner to help the Auditor General provide oversight on government advertising.

– Revamp the electoral process by eliminating the first-past-the-post voting system; will study measures such as ranked ballots, proportional representation, mandatory voting, and online voting.

The Greens promise to:

– Eliminate first-past-the-post system, and consult the public on the style of proportional representation best suited to Canada.

– End whipped votes in the House of Commons.

– Discourage patronage appointments by establishing an independent agency for appointments to government tribunals, boards and senior positions.

The Conservatives promise to:

– NOT decriminalize or legalize possession of marijuana.

– Consider Canadian police chiefs’ call for ticketing system for people possessing 30 grams of pot or less.

– Re-introduce previously tabled legislation to imprison the most brutal criminals for the rest of their natural lives and quickly deport hardcore foreign criminals. Also, to enact an amended version of the government’s previous mandatory-minimum sentencing law for gun crimes, which was struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada.

The NDP promises to:

– Immediately decriminalize marijuana, where users aren’t criminally prosecuted so nobody goes to jail for smoking a joint; party is open to considering legalization, but is calling for a commission to consult Canadians and instruct Parliament on how to carefully regulate non-medical use.

– Introduce legislation demanding Supreme Court of Canada justices be bilingual.

– Strengthen laws to keep drunk drivers off of streets.

The Liberals promise to:

– Legalize pot and allow it to be sold – and taxed – in approved outlets. Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says he expects people would not be allowed to buy the drug until they turn 18 or 19, depending on the province in which they live.

– Consider reviewing mandatory minimum sentences.

– Require judicial nominees to the Supreme Court of Canada to speak both official languages.

The Greens promise to:

– Repeal all the government’s criminal laws creating mandatory minimum sentences.

– Review the Young Offenders Act to ensure it is not an inducement to youth crime, but retain its core principle that youth should not be treated as hardened criminals.

– Increase penalties for domestic violence and ensure protection for the victims and survivors of domestic violence.


The Conservatives promise to:

– Review the 94 recommendations released in June by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which the Tory government established as part of the 2007 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.

– Provide $500 million to building and renovating schools on reserves.

– Commit $567 million over five years for Aboriginal people and northerners to help build “stronger communities.”

– Budget promises include $215 to provide skills development and training for aboriginal peoples; $200 million to improve First Nations education and outcomes in schools; and $30.3 million to expand a plan that helps communities create their own land management laws to improve economic development on reserve lands.

The NDP promises to:

– Call a national inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women, and act on other recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

– Reduce poverty, improve educational outcomes and increase opportunities for First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities across Canada.

– Create a cabinet committee, chaired by the prime minister, to ensure federal government decisions respect treaty rights and Canada’s international obligations.

The Liberals promise to:

– Rebuild the relationship between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians.

– Call a national inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women.

– Implement all 94 recommendations from Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

– Create more transparency and accountability with First Nations; pass legislation in consultation with First Nations people on implementing the reforms.

– Provide stable, predictable funding for First Nations education to close the “unacceptable gap” in learning outcomes for First Nations students.

The Greens promise to:

– Adopt recommendations from the TRC report, including a national inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women.

– Amend laws to recognize Indigenous approval of natural resource projects as equivalent in weight to federal government approval.

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