Key Words: parties, election, taxes, jobs, energy, trade
I. Poll Statistics and the Present Situation
A federal government election is coming. The winning majority party will have a term of 4 years, and a minority government can have a term of 5 years. This article will discuss the platforms of different parties.
According to the new data released on Sept 11, 2019, both Trudeau and Scheer are tied at 29 per cent when it comes to who voters think is most likely to keep their election promises. But on who would do the best job of tackling Canada’s deficit, 33 per cent picked Scheer.Twenty-two per cent said the same for Trudeau. Scheer also won out on the question of who would be best to manage the Canadian economy during tough times, with 31 per cent of respondents’ support over Trudeau, who took 28 per cent. On the issue who will make things more affordable, Scheer ranked at 25 per cent on that question compared to Trudeau at 22 per cent. Nevertheless, three in 10 Canadians (36 per cent) say they don’t like any of the parties in the election, yet 64 per cent of respondents say they want a majority government[i].
Some recent changes are the joining of PPC in the debates, new proposed education, EI benefits and gun control policies[ii]. The Leaders’ Debates Commission has invited Maxime Bernier, the leader of the People’s Party of Canada, to two debates on Oct. 7 and Oct. 10 as the party has now satisfied all the criteria such as having attracted a significant number of party members, established a notable presence in the media and on the political landscape and, and has achieved a reasonable chance of success in more than one riding. As to the policies, Children’s Fitness Tax credit proposed by Scheer will allow parents to claim up to $1,000 per child for sports and fitness activities and $500 for academic services like school tutoring. Parents of children with disabilities will receive an extra $500 on both credits. There’s also a promise to make Employment Insurance benefits for new parents tax-free, remove the GST from home heating costs and revive the public transit credits offered under Stephen Harper. Liberal leader Justin Trudeau says he’ll create 250,000 spaces in before- and after-school programs if he’s elected. Trudeau also promised that he would have a new gun control policy to announce in the coming weeks.
II. Platform Comparison[iii]
1. Climate ChangeThe Liberals have to defend their decision to buy an oil pipeline and explain how that squares with their promise to respect the Paris accord pledge to meet a target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions - one the government’s own reports show it is short of meeting. The Conservatives also have promised to respect the Paris Accord, but they’re less keen to talk climate. Scheer did decide to oppose the UN's global compact on migration. However, some commented the actual policies it contains would not change Canada's carbon emissions over the next decade. Canada's international target for 2030 would be missed by a wide margin. NDP has a focus on increase spending to combat “climate emergency’ and implement stricter emission targets as well as a cap and trade scheme. While Liberals, NDP and Greens are all for the carbon tax, Bernier doesn't just oppose implementing a price on carbon — he actively dismisses the science and the threat of climate change. Though the People's Party has shown little sign so far of breaking out, it's theoretically in a position to siphon off the votes of Conservatives who don't think Scheer is conservative enough[iv].
2. Economy and EnergyConservatives have promised to end foreign oil imports and get pipelines built, including the Trans Mountain, which they claim will create “tens of thousands” of jobs. The party also wants to improve “credential recognition” to make it easier for immigrants to get jobs, if they have equivalent skills. The People’s Party has not released a policy on this issue, but claims getting rid of supply management would create “thousands of jobs.” As to pipelines, Liberals support Line 3, Keystone XL, the massive LNG project running to B.C.’s coast and the Trans Mountain pipeline extension, which they bought for $4.5 billion. But they cancelled the Northern Gateway pipeline and changed the rules for the Energy East pipeline, leading to the project’s abandonment. Scheer would use constitutional powers to declare construction of pipelines to be in the national interest, a move he argues would get them built faster. He also would overturn recent legislation restricting the movement of oil tankers in northern B.C. The Conservatives cite the decisions to kill the Northern Gateway pipeline project, ban oil tankers off the northern B.C. coast and push through a controversial overhaul of the environmental assessment regime as examples of Liberal indifference toward the oil patch. The People’s Party would do the same. NDP would phase out the oil and gas sector, cancel the TransMountain pipeline and say no to LNG. While NDP and Greens would expand the government role and cost on crown companies, Liberals and Conservatives would make no change, and PPC would try to encourage more competition to achieve cost reduction and efficiency.
3. Foreign Trade and International AffairsConservatives were quick to criticize the Liberals when they struck the USMCA deal, arguing it was worse for Canadians than the old one. They specifically complained about its impact on softwood lumber and dairy. They’ve even released attack ads on it. Maxime Bernier criticized the negotiation team for acting like “amateurs.” He said he was happy to see supply management come up during the negotiations but was disappointed that it wasn’t eradicated entirely. The NDP is the wild card in this situation. The party has called for the agreement to be reopened to make changes to the way drug price regulations are set and ensure lower drug prices. While Liberals and Greens would continue to send out and increase foreign aid in billions, PPC wants to limit to only emergent and humanitarian aid. As the relationship with China is concerned, Elizabeth May says that solar technology is now very mature, and all that people need is installation. She believes that the federal government should eliminate tariffs on solar panels imported from China. These products are the cheapest and reliable. Canada should import a large volume, so that individuals and institutions can enjoy cheap solar energy, thus reducing dependence on BC Hydro. It is even possible to sell excess energy back to BC Hydro. Alternatively, electric vehicles can be manufactured in factories in China, and through these practical and feasible cooperation, trust between the two countries can be established[v].
4. ImmigrationOn immigration, Liberals want to accept more refugees and immigrants and allow local communities, chambers of commerce and labor groups to directly sponsor sponsorship Resident application, achieving the goal of accepting 350,000 immigrants per year by 2021, while imposing measures to crack down on “asylum-shopping” and regulate immigration consultants. Scheer stressed the importance of “economic immigration” and prioritizing those facing “true persecution.” Conservatives also want to encourage economic immigrants, crack down on illegal border crossings and improve immigration qualifications. They would promote the private sponsorship of refugees, increase refugee screening and reopen negotiations on the Safe Third Country agreement. Both NDP and the Green Party stressed the need to tackle applicant backlogs and prioritize family reunification. It promises to regulate the immigration consultant industry and get rid of the Safe Third Country agreement. The People’s Party wants a cut down on immigrants and refugees due to the resource limitation, increase the ratio of skilled immigrants from 26% to more than 50%[vi], and would rely instead on private sponsors for refugee settlement. It promises to designate the entire border an official port of entry, fence off problem areas and send back those crossing illegally, prohibit birth tourism and put an end to extreme multi-culturalism.
5. Healthcare and Social PoliciesLiberals have promised to take the "critical next steps" toward a national pharmacare program but are giving few details beyond that. Conservatives also have pledged to increase health transfer payments by at least 3% yearly and uphold other parts of the health accord. They’ve dismissed pharmacare and would instead focus on those not covered provincially or not at work. To tackle wait times, the party has promised $1.5 billion to buy more MRI and CT machines. NPDs say they want to expand the current model to include mental health, dental, eye and hearing coverage. They are also proposing a “pharmacare for all” plan, covering Health Canada-approved drugs, by late 2020. It would cost an estimated $10 billion annually — cheaper than the plan being looked at by Liberals. They oppose any privatization. The People’s Party claims there’s too much federal meddling in health care. It’s proposing making provinces and territories fully responsible for funding and managing health services. They also want more options for private healthcare.
As to the relationship with Aboriginals, Liberals want to pay more to BC reserves, while little is known about Conservatives’ stand. The People’s Party leader Maxime Bernier would explore ways to replace the Indian Act with a new legal framework. He suggests western pipelines would present Indigenous people with a “golden opportunity for economic development.” He also wants to look at ways to give Indigenous people individual property rights on reserve and bring clean drinking water to remote communities.
As to housing, New Democratic Party would get 500,000 affordable housing units built in the next 10 years with no GST on new rental apartment buildings.
As to education, Liberal Party would increase the subsidy for college students to $4,200 per year; the grace period for paying student loan interest would be extended from 6 months after graduation to two years; if the annual salary of graduates is less than $35,000, interest will be suspended; graduates of new parents may choose to suspend student loans until the child is 5 years old. Conservative Party would increase the government's contribution to the Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) from 20% to 30%, to no more than $2,500 per year. NDP would cancel interest on the federal portion of student loans. The Green Party would invest $10 billion to exempt students of tuition from post-secondary institutions; cancel existing federal student loans and the current Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP). The People's Party believes that education should be a matter of provinces.
While almost all the parties (except for the Conservative Party on the issue of Michael Cooper) said Yes to Section 13 allowing political parties to bypass criminal code to criminalize speech of their choice and censor and delete records of MP Michael Cooper, PPC said No to Section 13 and voted No to censor and delete the relevant records.
6. Budget, Taxation and Subsidies
The Liberals are proposing a $15,000 starting point for personal income tax, a 10% luxury good tax and a 3% surtax on advertizing and data revenue of large digital businesses. There is a big difference in the income tax cut between Conservatives and Liberals as shown below, with the plan of Conservatives more appealing. PPC would try to have a balanced budget at the end of 2 years, while CPC changes its timeline from 2 to 5 years. PPC is proposing a simplified, two-bracket federal income tax. It also wants to reform and reduce equalization payments to ensure fairness and independence. The party would replace the federal health transfer with tax points, allowing provinces to raise their own money. The party also suggests the removal of taxes on capital gains. New Democrats propose hiking the rate for capital gains inclusion from 50 to 75 per cent. They also want to hike the top federal personal income tax rate from 33 to 35 per cent for people with an annual income higher than $210,000, raise the corporate tax rate to 18%, and impose a one per cent wealth tax on those making more than $20 million. The Green Party is aiming for an entire tax system overhaul, looking to establish an arms-length Federal Tax Commission. In the meantime, the party would go after companies that use offshore tax havens, raise the corporate tax rate to 21%, tax transnational e-commerce corporations in Canada, put a surtax of 5% on commercial bank profits, and impose a 0.5% financial transaction tax on the finance sector.
Liberals, Conservatives and NDP all would like to keep the 9% small business tax rate, yet they have not come up with many good incentives. According to the People’s Party, government cannot pick winners and losers. Only the free market can. Giving bailouts to bankrupt businesses is not only a waste of taxpayer dollars, but it serves to distort the market to reward failure. The best way to ensure that businesses can succeed is to get needless regulation out of the way and to cut corporate taxes. Therefore, this party recommends a complete abolishment of corporate welfare, while the Conservatives, the NDPs and the Greens want to reduce it.
III. What Canadians Need
Canada is now in an economically difficult time due to both the trade war between the world’s two superpowers and Canada’s snowballing fiscal deficit and ever increasing family debt. Also, socially, Canada is getting more and more confused with relaxation on marijuana and gender definition. While every year, in some emergent economies, high net-worth millionaires are constantly increasing even after many have emigrated. Campbell Harvey said what we wanted to avoid was a replay of a hard landing associated with the 2008 global financial crisis[vii]. Sometimes, people wonder what the government is doing should not be done, while what should be done by the government is not done by it at all. A sensible wise government needs to cut taxes on small businesses, stimulate the economy by investing in infrastructure and help hiring more people, and remove all subsidies and taxes (such as the Equalization Tax) that are unfair, so as to create an atmosphere that the hard-working and the ones that help each other are rewarded.
Some people argue, the Psalms describe good leaders as those who defend the cause of the poor, deliver the needy and put down the oppressor. They claim to have much more in common with atheists and Islam than with conservative Christians, and Jesus never mentioned about homosexuality, but has an awful lot to say about overturning the gap between the rich and the poor[viii]. Paul’s approach to homosexuality and homosexual acts reflects the assumption he shares with other Jews of his time, that all people are heterosexual because God created humans male and female (Gen 1:27). Feeling or acting otherwise is unnatural and against God’s intent, an abomination Leviticus taught was worthy of death (Lev 18:20; Lev 20:13; see Rom 1:32)[ix]. Some passages in the Qur’an seem to deliberately contradict the biblical proclamation about Jesus Christ. For example, “Those who say: ‘The Lord of Mercy has begotten a son,’ preach a monstrous falsehood.” Moreover, while respecting Jesus as a prophet of God, the Qur’an does not affirm the deity of Jesus Christ or his death as a substitute payment for sins[x]. Also, how should we fill the gap between the rich and the poor? Should we just rob the rich to make the poor richer but the whole economy worse, or, should we set up a system to improve the living standard of everyone and encourage the rich to help the poor?
Canadians now need a strong, independent and unified Canada led by straightforward honest leaders with vision, principle, pragmatism, experience and influence like Tommy Douglas, Pierre Trudeau and Lester B. Pearson[xi].
Canada needs a party with vision, daring and resolution, openness to criticism and focus on pragmatism so as to be again put into a fast track to prosperity. A country with a rich people is more likely to be a strong one[xii].
[i] Amanda Connolly: Trudeau jumps ahead of Scheer as voters’ choice for best prime minister, Global News, Sept 18, 2019, please take time to view the article by clicking the website https://globalnews.ca/news/5913686/canadian-federal-election-best-prime-minister-poll/.
[ii] Stuart Thomson: Federal election 2019 roundup: People's Party of Canada invited to official leaders' debates, 16 Sept 2019, National Post, https://nationalpost.com/news/politics/federal-election-2019-roundup-scheer-campaigns-out-west-while-trudeau-pledges-to-answer-some-questions.
[iii] Ashley Burke: How do the main parties compare on these issues? CBC News, https://newsinteractives.cbc.ca/elections/federal/2019/party-platforms/, accessed on 25 Sept, 2019; PPC: Dare to Compare, August 5, 2019; the 2019 Federal Election Early Vote Begins Today! Make up for the Political Platforms of All Parties So as You Know Them by Heart, and to whom
Unheard News, Phoenix NAC Canada Program Center, 11 October 2019, see the Chinese article
[iv] Aaron Wherry: Why Andrew Scheer's campaign platform sounds so ... familiar, CBC News, 24 Sept, 2019, please take time to view the article by clicking the website https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/andrew-scheer-campaign-promises-harper-trudeau-2019-election-1.5275774.
[v] Want to Change the Day? The Conservative Party Polls Excel the Liberal Party! Sheer wants to Reset Sino-Canadian Relations, Canadian Urban Life, 14 October 2019, view the Chinese article
[vi] Want to Change the Day? The Conservative Party Polls Excel the Liberal Party! Sheer wants to Reset Sino-Canadian Relations, Canadian Urban Life, 14 October 2019, view the Chinese article
[vii] Duke Today Staff: It's Official: The Yield Curve is Triggered. Does a Recession Loom on the Horizon? Duke Today, July 1, 2019, please take time to view the article by clicking https://today.duke.edu/2019/07/its-official-yield-curve-triggered-does-recession-loom-horizon.
[viii] Peter Gilmer: the Bible and the Ballot, Prairie Dog, Oct 10-23, 2019, please click the link https://prairiedogmag.com/2019-10-10/the-bible-and-the-ballot/.
[ix] William Loader: Homosexuality in the New Testament, Bible Odyssey, please click the link https://www.bibleodyssey.org/en/passages/related-articles/homosexuality-in-the-new-testament, accessed on 16 Oct 2019.
[x] Timothy C. Tennent: the Bible and Islam, Crossway, Sept 11, 2018, please click the link https://www.crossway.org/articles/the-bible-and-islam/.
[xi] The Greatest Canadian, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Greatest_Canadian, accessed on 5 October 2019.