[As the special on-campus polls have just closed and the election nears, people are more than likely trying to decide at the last minute who to vote for. If you haven’t voted yet, now that it is nearing the end of the campaign, the parties are finally starting to release the final aspects of their platforms. To help you with your decision, The Cadre has got its Off-Campus Managing Editor Taya Nabuurs and several volunteers to create abridged versions of the party platforms. First up is the Liberals. Why? Because they were done first]
By: Taya Nabuurs
On October 5th, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau released all 88 pages of the full Liberal platform, complete with previously released party promises and new platform ideas. Some of the most notable of these new promises are particularly relevant to students. While the Liberals had remained rather quiet throughout the election campaign thus far in regards to any policies specifically targeted towards post-secondary students, the full platform announcement is chalk-full of promising ideas that will have students rejoicing.
Seeing as 88 pages can be a lot to take in if you’re just interested in researching a bit about what the Liberal Party stands for and/or you’re just trying to figure out who you want to vote for on October 19th, here’s a bit of a breakdown of some of the highlights and lowlights of the Liberal platform to help you grasp the key points.
– The Liberal Party is proposing an increase to the maximum amount awarded to low-income families through the Canada Student Grant (this will increase to $3,000 a year for full-time students and $1,800 a year for part-time students).
– They will also tackle the student debt crisis by requiring that student loan repayments only kick in after graduates are earning more than $25,000 a year (essentially, students won’t have to start paying back their loans until they have a job with an annual salary of at least $25,000). Currently, students have to begin repaying their student loans six months after graduation, job or no job.
– The Liberals have also proposed an extra $50 million in additional support for the Post-Secondary Student Support Program, which largely supports Indigenous students attending post-secondary.
– Trudeau has assured that the Liberals will work closely with provinces and territories to ensure that they don’t incur any additional costs as a result of these spending increases.
– The Liberals have proposed investing in green infrastructure by boosting investment in this area by nearly $6 billion over the next four years, and by $20 billion over the next 10 years.
– The heart of the Liberal plan is focused on Middle-Class Canadians, and one of their most advertised and most-well known party policies involves cancelling certain tax breaks and tax benefits for the wealthy in order to afford more tax breaks for the Middle Class.
– The Liberals plan to cancel income splitting and other tax benefits, as well as create a new tax bracket of 33% for the wealthy – meaning Canadians making more than $200,000 in annual earnings) in order to cut the middle income tax bracket down to 20.5% from 22% (families with a combined annual income of $44,700 – $89,401 fall into this bracket).
– Another major party promise targeted at Middle Class families involves the Canada Child Benefit. The Canada Child Benefit is based on household income and the number of children per household. The Liberals’ proposed increases to the Canada Child Benefit would equal out to an additional $2,500 for the typical family of 4, while 9/10 Canadian families would receive more money. They claim that this proposal would lift 315,000 children out of poverty.
– A large portion of the Liberal platform is dedicated to promising better job creation for youth.
– The Liberals promise 40,000 more “good” youth jobs every year for the next three years, 5,000 of those being “green jobs”.
– They plan to invest $300 million into a renewed Youth Employment Strategy and to double the almost 11,000 who currently access Skills Link*. After the initial 3-year boost, the Liberals hope to set the renewed Youth Employment Strategy funding level at $385 million per year (which equals out to $50 million more than the 2015-2016 year).
– Trudeau is also proposing putting $40 million into co-op placements programs in science, technology, engineering, math, and business programs.
– To encourage employers to hire more youth, the Liberals would wave employer premiums for those aged 18-24 who are hired into permanent positions in the years 2016-2018.
– The Liberals are also proposing various increases in spending to promote Canadian job creation at large, including putting an additional $500 million into the Labour Market and Development Agreements, $50 million to renew the Aboriginal SKills and Employment Training Strategy, and $775 million per year into better job and skills training.
– Liberals have promised that under their government, they would not buy the F-35 stealth fight-bomber, instead proposing that lower-priced options should be looked into as they would be more beneficial to Canada’s defence needs.
– Trudeau has also made investing in the Royal Canadian Navy one of his top military priorities.
– A Liberal government would end the combat mission in Iraq, but remain fully committed to Canada’s military contributions in Central and Eastern Europe.
– The Liberals promise to negotiate a new health accord with provinces and territories in order to create a long-term agreement on funding for health care services.
– They also propose putting an additional $3 billion into home care services, along with giving more flexible and easier access to the Employment Insurance for the Compassionate Care Benefit.
– They also propose introducing a new National Disabilities Act targeted at eliminating systemic barriers to those with disabilities and creating better equality of opportunity.
– The Liberals have also promised more high-quality mental health services be made better available to the public (although without much specification as to how exactly they will execute this plan).
– The Liberals have proposed that at the end of every fiscal year, they will transfer any uncommitted federal infrastructure funds to municipalities to ensure that no money intended for infrastructure development goes unspent.
– One campaign policy that the Liberals have come under fire about in various debates with competing parties involves their plan to run three deficits of less than $10 billion in each of the two fiscal years to “fund investments in infrastructure and the middle class.” They plan to balance the budget by 2019.
– A large portion of these infrastructure investments will go towards public transit, with $20 billion being proposed to make public transit in Canadian municipalities greener, as well as more time and cost efficient.
– The Liberals are also proposing giving loan guarantees and small capital contributions from the Canada Infrastructure Bank to help provinces fund various infrastructure projects.
I’m not impressed that the Liberal Platform is the only one available before the advanced polls. The Green’s Policy on youth and students is, as usual, a decade ahead of the status quo. Guaranteed livable income to pay the bills, free tuition to all students by 2020, interest-free student loans, forgiveness of all loans over $10,000, pharmacare if you get sick and a youth dental plan so you don’t skip the dentist. Bold Climate Action because burning the planet down with more tarsands subsidies, pipelines and tankers is really not in your best interests.
Read it yourself: http://www.greenparty.ca/en/platform or in Charlottetown http://votebeckaviau.com/