May 27, 2004  
Volume 98, Issue 02  

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NEWS

Election ‘04: Promises, promises

CONSERVATIVES

• Plan to increase maximum loan limit for student loans and to offer grants to lower-income students. Promise creation of Canada Learning Bonds, increased Canada Education Savings grants and the Registered Lifelong Savings program.
• Propose a national drug plan and promise to provide flexibility to provinces in in-home care, catastrophic drug coverage and primary care reform.
• Plan to lower the national debt-to-Gross Domestic Product ratio by way of a legislated debt repayment plan and to improve small businesses’ access to loans in the private sector.
• Promise an $18-billion package to cut personal income tax by 25 per cent for middle-income earners and dropping corporate subsidies in order to lower business taxes.
• Plan to create the position of independent ethics commissioner to report to Parliament, to pass legislation requiring fixed election dates every four years and to hold elections to fill vacant seats in the Senate.
• Plan to combat crime by moving young offenders to adult court when possible and to end statutory release of prisoners that have served two-thirds of their sentence.
• Promise to work with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the United Nations to combat threats against international security.
• Plan to legislate limits on air pollutants, increase fines for ocean polluters and negotiate emissions limits with United States border states.

LIBERALS

• Plan to reform the national student loan program and implement grants for lower-income students. Introduced “learning accounts” for young families. Promise to update and modernize training programs in the workforce and updates to employment benefits.
• Plan to shorten hospital waiting times by working with the new National Council, to establish a new Canada Public Health Agency and appoint a Chief Public Health Officer. Have already transferred $2-billion to provinces for health care.
• Promise to solicit public input for foreign policy review and continued membership in the United Nations.
• The February budget provided municipalities with full GST relief and there are further plans to increase the GST tax credit for lower-income Canadians
• Promise to strengthen Canadian Forces with more people and supplies, including new vehicles and helicopters. Introduced national security policy and started a defense and foreign policy review.
• Will work with provinces on a climate change plan and aim to put in place a $3.5-billion program to clean up contaminated federal property.
• Remain open to Senate reform and plan to appoint an ethics officer for the Senate as well as an independent ethics commissioner.
• Plan to offer the provinces a seat at international forums and promise solutions to disputes over federal-provincial equalization payments and health transfers.

NEW DEMOCRATS

• Plan to lower post-secondary tuition, make student loans interest-free and allow bankruptcy protection for graduates who are in debt.
• Plan to enforce national standards on equal access to health care and promise to increase the federal share of health care funding to 25 per cent.
• Economic priority is job creation; plan to restore Employment Insurance and increase access to benefits for part-time workers. Child care and parental leave also an economic priority.
• Tax policy focused on lower-income Canadians and plans include expanding child benefits. Twenty per cent tax imposed on profits of over 10 per cent by financial institutions. Plan to close tax loopholes for large businesses.
• Plan to make Canada a leader in the promotion of nuclear disarmament and arms control. Continued cooperation with the United Nations and its platform of peace, human rights and democracy.
• Plan to abolish the Senate, balance representation in electoral reforms and ensure electoral funding is subject to full disclosure.
• Plan to introduce a National Housing Strategy, which would divert one per cent of the federal program budget to affordable, non-profit housing and increase and promote other municipal programs, including public transportation.
• Plan to introduce an Environmental Bill of Rights, promote “green jobs” and change public infrastructure to make it more environmentally friendly and promote jobs.

BLOC QUÉBÉCOIS

• Propose a full GST reimbursement for all public education institutions and plan to lobby Ottawa for an increase in transfer funds for post-secondary education. Support plan to remove restrictions that prevent international students from working while attending school in Canada.
• Oppose federal interference in the area of health care and plan to pressure Ottawa to give up control of money destined to health research facilities in Quebec. Plan to review rising costs of medication and increase federal funding.
• Propose income-tax cuts for lower-income Canadians and oppose tax cuts for higher wealth brackets.
• Favour immediate implementation of Kyoto protocol and favour expansion of hydro-electricity projects in northern Quebec.
• Want federal government to meet promises regarding big budget transfers for parental leaves and compassionate leaves and for transfer payments to be replaced by GST revenue.
• The party takes credit for keeping Canada out of Iraq in 2003 and states it is in Ottawa to represent Quebec to the rest of the world.
• Want federal transfer payments to be increased by $11-billion a year and $10-billion in compensation for Ottawa’s involvement in such areas as health care.
• Sovereigntist party; therefore believe general federal problems — including those regarding health, education and family — can only be solved by Quebec’s separation from the rest of Canada.

 

 

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