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Election 2011 Platform Comparison

platformElections are a chance to choose the vision for Canada. This comparison will be long, but it is complete and based directly off the content that was available in the party platforms of the three major parties – the Conservatives, Liberals and NDP. In many ridings across the country, there will be a three-way race to choose their representing party and across the country some minds haven’t already been made yet. This article will include a meet the leaders section as well.
You have the choice for the vision of the country that you prefer. Everything will be classified by major headers and is in a random order. Blank spaces indicate that there was nothing concerning the topic in the platform. The Conservatives mentioned a $11 billion cut in a news release but since they do not mention it in their platform and don’t have any documentation to back it up, we will assume that it does not exist. Note that each of these parties can and probably will break these promises and that the Conservatives have some controversial views and contradictions when it comes to some of these.

Meet the Leaders

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Leader Stephen Harper Michael Ignatieff Jack Layton
Profile Prime Minister of Canada for 5 years in a minority parliament and has been defeated due to his government’s high secrecy and scandals A professor, a journalist, an academic, who has traveled the world and was a leading activists for Human Rights. He came back to return Canada to its traditional self. Has the momentum in the popular vote polls and is a fighter. He is known for his stances on many issues from poverty to the environment.
Full Platform
Full
Costing

Economy

Economy Conservative Liberal NDP
GST No Change No Change No Change
Personal Taxes No Change No Change No Change
Corporate Taxes Cut to 15% from 16.5% Raised to 18% from 16.5% Raised to 19.5% from 16.5%
Small Business Tax Rates No Change No Change Cut to 9% from 11%
Fighter Jets For Against Against
Mega Prisons For Against Against
Deficit Eliminate by 2015 Down to 1% GDP in 2 years Balance Budget by 2015
Job Creation and Economic Plans · Training trade
· Hiring tax credit for small business
· Foreign credentials loans.
· Free Trade between EU and Canada by 2012
· New Trade in India by 2013
· Reduce paperwork burden on small businesses by 20%
· Red Tape Reduction Commission to look at ways to deregulate businesses.
· Permanent support for BizPal – online tool for ‘one-stop shopping’
· HST in Quebec







· Youth Hiring Incentive will hire 700,000 young Canadians annually.
· Invest in education to spur innovation and new markets
· Incentives given to innovators in environment
· Incentives given to innovators in medicine
· Innovation tax credit: 15% tax credit for innovators
· Extend “Flow-Through Shares” tax model – companies with little to no revenue pass on tax savings to investors




· Re-introduce federal minimum wage
· Cap interest rates of credit cards at 5%
· Increase powers of financial regulators to ban excessive interest rates
· Job creation tax credit of $4500 per new hire – if new employee kept for 12 months, $1,000 bonus.
· Reduce threshold for foreign investment to $100 million
· HST in Quebec
· Not penalize BC for rejecting HST





New industries to be focused on · Military and Aerospace · Sustainable and environmentally responsible resource products
· Medical technologies
· Clean energy

Key Investments · Canada-US border
· Repair Champlain bridge
· Canada’s research granting councils
· Strategic Aerospace and Defense Initiative
· Canada Space industry
· 200,000 more homes can access internet
· F-35 Jets
· Super Prisons






· Invest in education
· New Champlain Bridge
· Science and research
· public transport and infrastructure to spur innovation and new markets
· 100% internet coverage across the country.
· Lower internet costs
· Arts and culture





· Eco-Energy program
· public transport and infrastructure
· affordable and social housing
· Clean energy


Employment Insurance · Families can take 6 months leave to tend to relatives
New Expenses $6.61 billion S8.23 billion $68.94 billion
Cuts/ New Revenue $67.60 million $11.23 billion $72.30 billion
Total $6.54 billion deficit $3.00 billion surplus $3.36 billion surplus

Healthcare

Healthcare Conservative Liberal NDP
Innovations and Changes · Forgive portion of students’ loans in rural areas · Review Canada Food Inspection Agency, Health Canada, and Public Health Agency of Canada to ensure food safety system is effectively coordinated to minimize risks
· Canada Brain Health Strategy – meant to form a research team to help Canadians cope with Diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Multiple Sclerosis
· Find ways to prevent mental disorders to put a family in poverty
· Work with provinces to make access to doctors in Rural Canada possible


· Home care transfer
· Double funding for forgivable loans to help seniors keep homes.
· Renovation credit for families who renovate a home to support a senior – forgivable loan will cover 50% of costs with maximum of $35,000

Investments · Increase food inspection budget by $50 million in 4 years
· $100 for Canadian Brain Health Strategy
· 1,200 new doctors in 10 years
· 6,000 new nurses in 6 years
· Low income, rural and aboriginal medical students

Medication · Work with provinces to ensure wide scope of medication coverage
· Lower cost of prescription drugs by possibly supporting provinces expand bulk purchasing
· Bargain pharmaceutical purchases
· Cut administrative costs through public administration
· Aggressive Price Review
· Public funded research and development


Pro-Active Measures · Double children’s fitness tax credit and make it refundable
· Adult fitness tax credit – cover up to $500 in registration fees for fitness activities
· Healthy Choices Program to educate Canadians on eating healthy.
· Labeling regulations to make nutritional value of food and Product of Canada Labeling clearer.
· Regulate trans fats and salts
· Healthy Start program to get 250,000 from low income families healthy and well fed.
· Commit on-going support for Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program and Aboriginal Head Start Program
· Buy Local fund and promote home-grown food.
· Support Farmers’ Market Development Program





· Support schools giving healthy meals
· Injury reduction in amateur sport act
Provincial Deal Maintain Public System Maintain Public System Maintain Public System

Families

Families Conservative Liberal NDP
Equality · Protect disabled
· Everyone should have equal opportunity
· Reverse Harper’s cuts to pay equity and establish pro-active pay equity

· Reverse Harper’s cuts to pay equity and establish pro-active pay equity
· Give rights to disabled.
· Protect transgender and transsexual Canadians from discrimination and impose tough consequences to infractions

Initiatives · Family Tax Cut (in 2015-16 when budget is balanced) income-sharing for couples with dependent children under 18 years old will be able to share receive up to $50,000 of income for federal income tax purposes – average savings of $1,300 per year – supposed to increase fairness for single income families and ease burden on double income families
· Establish a Family Caregiver Tax credit worth $2,000
· Family Care Plan includes: Family Care Employment Insurance Benefit and Family Care Tax Benefit
· Six-Month Family Care Employment Insurance Benefit: Will cost $250 million, help 30,000 people, not increase EI premiums.
· Family Care Tax Benefit – modeled off Child Tax Benefit: tax-free monthly payment worth up to $1,350 per year. Eligible to families with incomes under $106,000. Will help 600,000 people and cost $750 million.
· Affordable Housing


· Caregiver Benefit modeled after Child Tax Benefit to give low and middle income families who care for a senior a tax credit of up to $1,500 per year
· Affordable housing
· Home heating sales tax rebate
· Reinstate Harper’s cut funding for settlement of new Canadians


Fighting Poverty · Top-up benefit to the Guaranteed Income Supplement providing $600 extra per year for single seniors and up to $840 per year for senior couples
· Double tax-free savings account limit
· Extend protection of workers via Wage Earner Protection Program to more than 6 months.

· Fund $700 million per year to strengthen Guaranteed Income Supplement
· Create with provinces a Poverty Reduction Plan
· Increase annual Guaranteed Income Supplement enough to lift every senior out of poverty
· Create non-taxable Child Benefit and give $700 per child – in addition to Universal Child Care Benefit
· Poverty reduction targets will be outlined

Pensions · Work with provinces to gradually increase defined benefits under core of Canadian Pension plan
· Create Secure Retirement Option to be an alternative to RRSPs. Employers could give low cost plan to contribute to SRO.
· In the event that an employer goes bankrupt, workers can transfer pensions to Canada Pension Plan to allow assets to grow.

· Work with provinces to increase pension plan - goal to double what people already receive.
· End reduction of pensions for retired veterans

Education

Education Conservative Liberal NDP
Student Debt · Enhance Canada Student Loans Program for Part time students
· Double work exemption for Canadian Student Loans
· Try to implement measures with Quebec Government since Quebec is not part of Canada Student Loan Program

· Liberal Passport: $1,000 per year for 4 years for every high school student to use towards college, university or CEGEP. For Low income families, $1,500 per year for 4 years. Current CEGEP and University students will be eligible, part time students get less.
· Requirement: RESP account, no input required. Comes in addition to existing programs for students.
· However, the initiative will replace the Textbook and Education tax credits. The Tuition Tax Credit, Canada Students Loans Program and the Canada Student Grant Program stay in place.
· Give students additional $1,500 if they volunteer for at least 150 hours in a Canada Service Corps service for a year


· $800 million transfer to provinces aimed at tuition fees
· $200 million per year more to Canada Student Grants program – aimed at aboriginals and low-income students
· $960 increase in education tax credit.

Student Jobs · Extend support for Canada Youth Business Foundation to give loans to young entrepreneurs · Youth Hiring Incentive will hire 700,000 young Canadians annually.
Educational Infrastructure · 30 new Industrial Research Chairs at colleges and polytechnics to allow students to interact with researchers
· Enhance Research Granting councils to support research partnerships between researchers and students
· Early Learning program
· Invest $120 million to Veterans Learning Benefit for veterans who want to go back to school
· Invest $200 million to ensure that education is available for Aboriginal people; additional money will also be given to aboriginal students directly.

· Early Learning program

Democracy and Accountability

Democracy and Accountability Conservative Liberal NDP
Initiatives · Scrap voter subsidies for parties
· Fill senate vacancies with individuals who support Conservative senate reform goals
· Add more seats to parliament
· Open Government Working Group – release information to the public and open dialogue with citizens


· Open Government – allow Canadians to see what government is doing.
· People’s Question Period – A weekly occurrence of a day in parliament dedicated to answering questions and concerns from the people
· Reinstate Court Challenges program which conservatives scrapped which provided financial assistance for pursuing language and equality rights in constitution.
· Create internet voting
· Work with all parties



· Electoral Reform – Shared Riding system and proportional representation
· Prevent prorogation of parliament when confidence vote on table and require parliamentary vote first
· Renegotiate constitution to allow Quebec be a part

Senate Reform: Elected Reform: Abolish
Long Form Census Reform: Abolish Reinstate Reinstate
Long Gun Registry Reform: Abolish Reform: Improve
· Decriminalize first offenders
· Eliminate license fees for new users and renewals
· Simplify forms and obtainability



Environment

Environment Conservative Liberal NDP
Investments · Clean air using ecoEnergy retrofit
· Support for research and development in clean energy
· Support Lower Churchill hydro-electric project
· Allow Quebec to exploit off shore resources such as oil


· Clean energy
· Scientific research and monitoring of impacts of oil sands development
· $100 million with annual increase of $125 million in Canadian Fresh Water Strategy
· Support Lower Churchill hydro-electric project


· Public transit
Changes · ecoEnergy Retrofit-homes program will be extended by one year
· Establish National Conservation Plan to create new National Parks, make land between protected areas more permeable to wildlife and expand use of digital technologies to help connect Canadians to nature
· Restore degraded ecosystems and reintroduce native species

· Green Renovation tax credit with goal of retrofitting 1 million homes by 2017 – people who make energy efficient changes to their homes (such as new windows, doors and roofing) can claim a tax credit of up to $13,500. Government will cover 50% of cost of energy audit required in advance of the renovation – this leads to average of $500 per year in savings on energy costs
· Export resource-based products that were produced with lowest impact
· Supply knowledge, technology, and expertise to other markets
· Quadruple Canada’s low-impact renewable energy production level from 2009 by 2017
· Restore Renewable Power Production Incentive that the Conservatives cut
· Conduct review of offshore oil spill prevention and response capability plans – introduce legislation to prevent disasters – create world leading oil spill contingency plan which will ensure safety measures part of cost of doing business
· Liability on companies will be from $30 to 40 million (companies would have to pay for it if found negligent in court)
· Halt Oil exploration in Arctic






· Work with provinces to get binding deal
· Promote green made in Canada products
· Support low income make shift
· Green Bond Fund to allow investment in green research and projects
· Tax exemption for employees who use public transit



Oil Sands · Accelerate development and deployment of technologies that reduce environmental impacts with goal of eliminating 15% differential compared to conventional oil
· Immediately end tax break for industry
· Invest

· Regulations to protect fishery, trans boundary waters, science-based monitoring and enforcement for oil sands
Fresh Water Strategy · Address issue of water contamination
· Protect water from being subject to bulk exports
· Restore Great Lakes and St. Lawrence regions
· Support cleanup of Lake Winnipeg
· Advance Research and improve efforts to protect fresh water ecosystems from invasive species



Reduction Target 80% below 1990 levels by 2050
System used Cap and Trade Cap and Trade

Canadian Culture

Canadian Culture Conservative Liberal NDP
Initiatives · Implement Children’s Arts tax credit that would give each child $500 for the expenses of arts
· Support Royal Conservatory of Music and Canada Periodical Fund
· Defend CBC
· Double federal funding for arts
· Support Bilingualism and will consult a next generation Official Languages Plan.
· Reduce wait times for immigrants and refugees on the waiting list


· Strengthen bilingualism
· Refocus mandate of CRTC
· Fund Canada Media Fund and Telefilm Canada
· Regulate Canadian TV to keep it Canadian owned
· Promote broadcast of Canadian content



Foreign Policy

Foreign Policy Conservative Liberal NDP
Diplomacy · New Trade in India by 2013
· Free Trade between EU and Canada by 2012
· Create Office of Religious Freedom in Department of Affairs and International Trade to promote religious freedom and advance programs that support religious freedom
· Protect religious minorities
· Rally world leaders to follow through on commitments to improve heath of women and children in developing nations
· Reintroduce Human smuggling legislation
· Expedite deportation of foreign criminals
· Give law enforcement power to prevent terrorism






· Global Network Strategy
· Create Trade Deals with China and India
· Improve Canada-US relations
· Reverse thickening of border
· Improve Canada-Mexico relations
· Strengthen ties with Europe
· Re-Invest in international priorities
· Help Africa






· Play a role in new International Climate Change agreements
· Work toward meeting requirements of international contracts
Military · Follow through with purchase of F-35
· Give Coast Guard Law Enforcement Mandate
· Establish Armed boarding teams for incoming suspicious ships
· Arm coast guard vessels


· Revive Peace-keeping traditions of the Canadian Military
· Renew Canada’s leadership in conflict prevention
· Abolish F-35 project

· Make the military take a peace keeping role
· Maintain the Canadian Forces
· Maintain defense spending commitments
· Defense White Paper – Redefine roll of military and its needs and review major defense projects
· Review purchase of F-35 as part of Defense White Paper
· Enhance the Canadian Navy




Afghanistan · Focus on post-combat efforts in Afghanistan · 2011-2014 training mission in Afghanistan along with development work to phase out Canada’s military and help Afghans fend for themselves · Replace combat mission with development and bring troops out of Afghanistan
Arctic · Fund in education and job growth in region · Appoint new ambassador for circumpolar affairs to get a voice on Arctic council