Andrew Scheer promised voters who are struggling financially that “better days” would come under a Conservative government.
He unveiled his platform in Tsawwassen, B.C., Friday — less than two weeks before Canadians head to the polls.
“Under (Liberal Leader) Justin Trudeau, Canadians are working harder and harder but they’re just not getting ahead,” he said.
“And I hear it everywhere I go. Everything is getting more and more expensive. There’s less and less money left at the end of the month.”
The Tories want to replace Trudeau’s climate plan with a brand new strategy that doesn’t involve taxes on fossil fuels. The first order of business – a promise that long pre-dates the election – would be to eliminate the federal carbon tax.
Scheer’s climate plan involves setting emissions caps on heavy polluters and making them invest in green technology and research when they go over those limits.
Here’s a look at the pledges each of main federal party leaders have made on global warming throughout the campaign so far.
The Conservative platform promises a “universal” tax cut on the first $47,630 of income earned, from 15 per cent to 13.75 per cent.
The party says that translates to an $850 tax cut for a couple earning average Canadian salaries. The cut would be introduced gradually, but in year four of a possible Tory mandate, it would come at a cost of $5.9 billion.
The party also wants to scrap sales tax on home heating bills, starting at a cost of $1.3 billion in year one, and make Employment Insurance benefits for new parents tax free. That measure will cost about $616 million to start and rise to $1 billion in five years, according to the party’s estimates.
Some boutique tax credits – a specialty of Trudeau’s Conservative predecessor Stephen Harper – are also on offer in the current Tory platform.
Balancing the budget
The NDP is proposing to run a deficit of $32.7 billion next year if they win the federal election, with no plan to return to balance.
In launching his platform, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau refused to say when or if a Liberal government would restore fiscal balance. He boasted about the country’s credit rating and said the party has committed to making progress on his preferred fiscal yardstick, the debt-to-GDP ratio.
The Green Party also promised to balance the books in year five, but one analysis, led by the former parliamentary budget officer, expressed concerns about gaps in fiscal planning.
There were many other noteworthy promises tucked into the 103-page document — some new, some previously mentioned.
- End needle exchange programs in prisons over concern for the safety of correctional officers
- Add a free speech and academic freedom component to eligibility requirements for research grants at post-secondary institutions
- Ban “values” tests for federal funding, such as that in place for the Canada Summer Jobs Program
- Give judges the option to impose a “true” life sentence — not just 25 years.
- Enhance background checks for firearms licensing
- Extend the maximum mortgage amortization period to 30 years from 25.
- Re-establish the Office of Religious Freedom — at a cost of $1 million per year
- Open inquiries into SNC-Lavalin, money laundering and the Canadian military’s use of the controversial anti-malaria drug mefloquine.
—With files from the Canadian Press