A Breakdown the Major Parties’ Platform Promises

Climate change, education, and healthcare are hot topics this election

(wiki commons, modified by Kristen Frier)

I believe that before you commit to a relationship with a very special someone for four years—or potentially longer—you should get to know them first. The 2019 Canadian federal election is approaching quickly, and many folks have already decided on which party their values best align with. Climate change, education, and healthcare are all key factors to consider when making this choice, especially for young voters.

Education

The NDP wants to move towards establishing free tuition by “making post-secondary education part of our public education system,” as written on the party website. Members would also like to work with provinces and territories to put a limit on tuition and eliminate interest on student loans.

The Liberal Party plans on increasing Canada Students Grants for full-time and part-time students by up to $1,200. It will give students two years after graduation to begin paying off their interest-free loans, and they won’t have to begin paying off their loans until they start making at least $35,000 a year. What will happen if a person never makes that much a year has not been addressed. New parents with student debt wouldn’t have to start paying it off until their youngest child reaches the age of five.

The Green Party wants to abolish tuition and forgive student loan debt. Its ambitious education plan also aims to ensure Indigenous students can have free access to all post-secondary institutions and to support the expansion of curricula focusing Indigenous studies overall.

The Conservative Party wants to increase federal contributions to registered education savings plans (RESPs) from 20 to 30 per cent for every dollar added, up to a maximum of $2,500 per year. Conservatives are the only major party that has not released a plan for tuition. Scheer had intended to enact a tax credit for parents who enroll their children in private schools, says an iPolitics article on the matter, but will not be moving ahead with this plan because of “Trudeau’s budget mess.”

Healthcare

The NDP promises to include dental, mental health, optical, and auditory coverage in its current federal healthcare plan. It is in favour of a national pharmacare program to be implemented by 2020 and supports loosening regulations on physician-assisted dying.

The Liberal Party hopes to ensure that all Canadians have access to family doctors and wants to set national standards for mental health services. It also promises to make home care and palliative care more accessible, increase funding for addiction treatment programs, and take steps towards implementing national pharmacare. Supporting access to physician-assisted dying and doubling medical benefits for children with disabilities is also on their list of platform promises.

In response to the opioid crisis, the Green Party would like to decriminalize all drug possession. It would also like to implement pharmacare and dental care, increase funding for the training of medical professionals, and give Canadians the right to deny medical treatment if they wish.

The Conservative Party promised to spend $1.5 billion on MRI and CT machines for hospitals across Canada. It has dismissed the plan to implement pharmacare and will instead focus on supporting Canadians who do not have adequate provincial healthcare or health benefits at work. It also seeks to expand eligibility for disability tax credits.

Climate Change

On its website, the NDP says it can help Canada “transition to a clean energy, carbon-free economy while investing in workers and creating jobs.” Jagmeet Singh often says that he wishes to put more responsibility on big corporations and major polluters by cutting subsidies to oil and gas and reinvesting funds in electric-based technology. As a party, the NDP supports banning single-use plastics and has voiced opposition to the Trans-Mountain pipeline, but is so far unclear on its support for other pipeline developments. Singh says he wants to work with Indigenous communities to make an agreement that everyone can be satisfied with, and will grant provinces veto power for future pipelines.

The Liberal Party also plans on banning single-use plastics by 2030, planting two billion trees over the next 10 years, and putting a “price on pollution,” according to its website. Justin Trudeau aims to reduce Canada’s reliance on coal power, phasing it out completely by 2030, and to considerably cut back on emissions by 2050, according to the CBC. The Liberal Party bought the Trans Mountain pipeline for $4.5 billion and will likely support other potential pipeline developments in the future.

The Green Party leader, Elizabeth May, is vocal about her disapproval of any new pipeline projects. She promises to cancel the Trans Mountain pipeline and was arrested during a protest in Burnaby against building it. The Green Party has a 20-point plan called “Mission: Possible” to avoid a “climate catastrophe.” This plan includes “declaring a climate emergency,” banning fracking fossil fuel extraction, supporting sales of biodiesel made from vegetable fat from restaurants, and eliminating Canada’s reliance on all fossil fuels by 2030. This could raise gas prices significantly and could encourage people to give up their vehicles.

The Conservative Party’s plan for the environment criticises the way the Liberal Party has handled it over the last four years. It wants to cut the national carbon tax and invest the money in developing green technology instead. On its website, it states the party’s stance that “you can not tax your way to a cleaner environment.” Andrew Scheer also believes that “Canada could stop everything tomorrow — natural resource development, mining, manufacturing, agriculture, everything — and it would mean almost nothing,” according to the website.

Technology

The New Democrats want to establish a maximum cap for cell phone and internet bills to combat Canada’s notoriously high prices by having phone companies create affordable plans based off of those in other countries. They also intend to develop and expand high speed internet service to all corners of the country.

Liberals also want to bring high speed internet across the nation, they plan on having it done by 2030. Cracking down on hate speech on social media platforms, and dictating right and privacy online are also included in their platform. They also plan on setting regulations with cell phone companies to cut down costs by 25 per cent.

The Green Party also wants to reduce cell phone prices through amending CRTC regulations. They call our current system a “telecom monopoly,” according to CBC, and want to “increase competition by opening up the market for new Candian cell companies.”

Conservatives have not released a policy on this issue yet, but according to CityNews, they are “looking at a possible tax rebate,” to offset phone bill costs.

Gun Control

Canada is largely split on the topic of gun control. The NDP has not called for a national handgun ban, but would instead grant cities the power to ban handguns and increase efforts to combat smuggling and illegal guns. They have allotted $100 million over five years to after-school programs, which can help prevent youth from being involved in crime or violence.

Bill C-71, a policy regarding the expansion of background checks, was implemented by the Liberal Party. They also promise to ban semi-automatic assault rifles, buy back any that were purchased legally, and give cities the power to ban handguns if they so choose.

The Green Party plans on banning handguns and assault rifles, and to do so they are going to implement some kind of “buy-back” program where the seller remains confidential. Mainly, they want guns to be kept out of major cities, but don’t mind the use of handgun on secure ranges.

Conservative leader, Andrew Scheer, doesn’t agree with having a handgun ban, and instead supports lifetime gun bans to those convicted of violent crimes, people involved in gang activity, those who resell guns on the black market, and promote a 5-year minimum sentence for gang members.

Jobs

The NDP wants to raise the national minimum wage to $15 per hour, and create 300,000 new jobs in their first term. They plan on abolishing unpaid internships unless they count for school credit, and would require employers to spend 1 per cent of payroll on training. While this may sound like a hardship for small businesses, they plan to address this by implementing pharmacare—which will lower costs on employee benefits—and by setting limits on fees charged by credit card companies.

The Liberal Party also wishes to raise the national minimum wage to $15 per hour and improve employee training. They want to ensure benefits for seasonal workers, extend employment insurance sick benefits from 15 to 26 weeks, and implement federal rules for those who drive for Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing companies.

The Green party is on board with Liberals and NDP to raise minimum wage to $15 per hour and ban unpaid internships, same as NDP. They also want to implement “robot tax,” to discourage replacing human workers with machines, and cancel the Temporary Foriegn Worker program in favour of a guaranteed livable income.

Conservatives believe the oil industry is the heart of Canadian employment, and by ending foriegn oil imports and building pipelines we would be creating jobs, according to CBC, “tens of thousands.” The Conservative platform lays out their plan to scrap carbon taxes, implement Universal Tax Cut which would save “a couple earning average salaries $850,” annually and building a National Energy Corridor which will be “moving oil, gas, hydroelectricity, telecommunications and potentially accommodating other linear infrastructure.”

The major parties in this election have platforms as vast as the sea, and while there are many fish in this election, you can check out the websites for the red fish (Liberals), blue fish (Conservatives), orange fish (NDP), and green fish (Green), or other fish, before you cast your vote.

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