Canada’s longest federal election campaign since 1872 comes to an end on Monday, October 19, 2015. That means you will be able to say you witnessed something even rarer than a Supermoon total eclipse or a Kate Bush concert.
More importantly, you should be able to say that, at the end of 78 long days of deficit talk, attack ads, refugee crises, senate scandals, good hair days, finger wagging, hand wringing, shout-downs and occasional homophobic snafus, you voted.
If the record voter turnout at the advance polls—3.6 million!—is an indication a lot of Canadians already know who they want to vote for. But if you still haven’t made up your mind and need a primer on who is promising what, we’ve dug into their searchable platforms, PDFs and policy books and extracted the key points. Consider this your easily-digestible cheat sheet to the 2015 election.
Conservative: Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% from 2005 levels by 2030; supports Enbridge Northern Gateway, Keystone XL, Kinder Morgan Expansion and Energy East piplines.
NDP: Introduce green energy home retrofitting program to retrofit 50,000 homes and apartment buildings with $200 million investment; implement cap-and-trade program nationwide to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but allow provinces to opt out if their own programs meet federal standards; opposes Northern Gateway and Keystone XL but open to Energy East pending a new consultation process.
Liberals: Increase investment in green infrastructure by $6 billion over four years and nearly $20 billion over 10 years; Establish national emissions-reduction targets but allow provinces to design their own policies to meet those commitments, including their own carbon pricing regimes; phase out fossil-fuel subsidies over medium-term; supports Keystone XL pipeline.
Green Party: Eliminate fossil fuel use by mid-century; reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 2005 levels by 2025 and to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050; opposes all pipeline projects.
Conservative: Increase health care transfers to provinces; make palliative care a greater priority by establishing a national strategy and funding research; planning a legislative response to Supreme Court ruling granting Canadians living with extreme suffering to end their lives and will subject that legislation to a free vote; prohibit discrimination on basis of genetic testing.
NDP: Work to create universal prescription drug coverage by investing $2.6 billion over four years; build 200 new clinics across Canada; hire 7,000 doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses and other health professionals.
Liberals: Invest $3 billion to improve home care, improve access to prescription drugs and mental health care; negotiation a new health accord with provinces.
Green Party: Extend Canada Health Accord, which expired on the Conservative watch, eliminate and oppose two-tier health care; improve acute and chronic care systems; reduce cost of prescription drugs.
Conservative: Lower employment insurance premium by 21%; keep corporate income tax rate at 15%, which is down from 21% when Stephen Harper first took office.
NDP: Increase corporate income tax rate to “less than 17.5 per cent”; eliminate tax breaks on stock options and funnel that money into trying to end child poverty.
Liberal: End income splitting and tax breaks for wealthy Canadians but keep pension splitting for seniors; cut middle income tax bracket from 20.5% to 22%; introduce a new tax bracket of 33 percent for people who earn more than $200,00 each year.
Green Party: Return corporate tax rate to 2008 level (19.5%); eliminate taxes on incomes less than $20,000; increase tax breaks on charitable donations.
Conservative: Create 1.3 million new jobs by 2020; create 10-year plan to lower tax burden on manufacturers; create loan system for people who want to go into the trades and support employment training programs for young Canadians who want work in the trades; create an Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit;
NDP: Support job creation in the aerospace, automotive, forestry and mining sectors; invest $1.5 billion per year in infrastructure projects; cut small business tax from 11% to 9%; invest $200 million over four years in youth employment strategies; create new innovation tax credit to support R&D.
Liberals: Invest $200 million in provincial and territorial job training programs; strengthen employment insurance; ensure people who lose their jobs only have to wait one week, not two, to get employment insurance benefits.
Green Party: Invest in trades, apprenticeships and education that complements investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy production, digital upgrades, clean-tech manufacturing, tourism, the creative economy and emerging technologies; re-introduce home renovation tax credit to create additional sustainable jobs.
Conservative: Speed up settlement process for 10,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees; spend $9 million over three years to help persecuted religious minorities
Liberals: Accept 25,000 Syrian refugees this year through government sponsorship and work with private sponsors to accept more; invest $250 million to increase refugee processing, sponsorship and settlement services; restore limited health benefits to refugees and refugee claimants.
NDP: Settle 10,000 Syrian refugees before end of the year and 9,000 more per year until 2019 for a total of 46,000.
Green Party: Increase number of Syrian refugees accepted to Canada to 25,000.
Conservative: Opposes legalization and decriminalization measures; create a national hotline to help parents recognize if their children are using drugs;
Liberals: Legalize, regulate and restrict access to marijuana; remove pot consumption and incidental possession from Criminal Code and strengthen laws penalizing people who illegally sell marijuana and drive while under the influence; create new (and provincially taxable) sales and distribution regime.
NDP: Decriminalize marijuana immediately with a view to full legalization down the line.
Green Party: Legalize marijuana and create regulatory frameworks for production, sale and taxation.
Conservative: Party has not released a platform on women’s rights and Prime Minister Stephen Harper declined to participate in a national party leaders debate focused on women’s issues organized by an alliance of women’s groups, causing other leaders to bow out. Although the other leaders participated in pre-recorded video interviews on women’s issues, Harper did not.
NDP: Mandate that half of government appointments to boards of Crown corporations and government agencies are women; require publicly traded, federally regulated companies to have a minimum of 40% women on their boards; enact pay equity legislation; create action plan to end violence against women; supports women’s right to access safe and legal abortions; launch inquiry in to missing and murdered Aboriginal women. Party leader Tom Mulcair has called himself a feminist.
Liberal: Will take gender impacts into account when making cabinet decisions and ensure government agencies are conducting gender-based impact analyses as required under the law; supports women’s right to access safe and legal abortions; launch inquiry in to missing and murdered Aboriginal women. Party leader Justin Trudeau has called himself a feminist.
Green Party: Supports women’s right to access safe and legal abortions; expand programs around reproductive rights; expand support for low-income mothers; pass pay equity legislation and immediately establish pay equity for women employed in federal sector; work to end violence against women; use tax incentives to encourage gender and pay equity among companies; launch inquiry in to missing and murdered Aboriginal women.
Conservatives: Keep the controversial anti-terrorism bill, which gives Canadian authorities powers to crackdown on material deemed “terrorist propaganda” and arrest more people without warrants. It also enables government departments to share personal information of people under surveillance more freely.
NDP: Opposes the bill and would scrap it.
Liberal: Will repeal parts of the bill and introduce new legislation to ensure bill does not restrict lawful protests, among other things.
Green Party: Supports repealing the bill.
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