OTTAWA — A running list of specific promises announced by the Liberals, Conservatives, NDP and Green party since the official start of the federal election campaign on Sept. 11.
Sept. 20: Ban all military-style assault rifles and work with provinces and territories to empower municipalities to further restrict or ban handguns. Create a buy-back program for all legally purchased assault rifles and have a two-year amnesty while the program is being set up. Not re-establish the controversial long-gun registry.
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Sept. 18: Increase old age security by an extra 10 per cent once a senior turns 75 with change to take effect July 2020; increase the Canada Pension Plan survivor benefit by 25 per cent.
Sept. 17: Increase the Canada child benefit by 15 per cent for children under one, remove federal taxes from employment-insurance payments for maternity and parental leave, introduce an extra 15 weeks of leave for adoptive parents (EI currently covers 35 weeks for adoptive parents), and work to establish “guaranteed paid family leave” for those who don’t qualify for EI.
Sept. 16: Spend at least $535 million per year to help create up to 250,000 more spaces for children in before- and after-school child-care programs, reduce fees parents pay for elementary school programs by 10 per cent, and ensure 10 per cent of new spaces go to parents who work outside normal hours.
Sept. 13: Eliminate the “swipe fee” merchants pay to credit-card companies on every transaction, reduce the cost of federal incorporation, make federal business advisory services fee-free, create a voluntary payroll system to automate records for small businesses, launch a pilot project to give up to $50,000 to up to 2,000 entrepreneurs to help them start businesses, and give $250 for new businesses to develop a website or e-commerce platform.
Sept. 12: Impose a national one-per-cent tax on properties owned by non-Canadians and non-residents; raise the value of homes eligible for the first-time home-buyer incentive to $789,000 from $505,000.
Sept. 20: Spend $1.5 billion in first term to purchase MRI and CT machines to replace aging equipment and add machines across the country to reduce wait times for potentially life-saving tests. Maintain and enrich the current funding formula for the Canada Health Transfer and the Canada Social Transfer to provinces.
Sept. 19: Increase the Age Tax Credit by $1,000, which the party says would save individual seniors up to $150 and couples as much as $300.
Sept. 18: Review all federal business subsidies and eliminate economic-development programs where funds benefit shareholders, corporate executives, foreign companies, lobbyists or consultants to find $1.5 billion in annual savings; make sure regional ministers oversee regional development agencies; support “strategic industries,” such as aerospace, if the money stays in Canada and creates or protects jobs.
Sept. 17: Increase federal contribution to registered education savings plans (RESPs) from 20 per cent to 30 per cent for every dollar families add to the savings program, up to $2,500 per year. Provide low-income parents payments worth 50 per cent on the first $500 they invest annually.
Sept. 16: Provide up to $150 back on taxes per child up to age 16 enrolled in sports and fitness classes. Provide up to $75 back on taxes per child up to age 16 in an arts and learning program, such as dance classes, drawing or after-school tutoring.
Sept. 15: Cut the tax rate on the lowest federal income bracket (up to $47,630) from 15 per cent to 13.75 per cent over four years, which the party says would save a two-income couple earning average salaries about $850 a year.
Sept. 13: Reintroduce a 15-per-cent tax credit for public transit that would apply at tax time to any transit pass allowing for unlimited travel within Canada on local buses, streetcars, subways, commuter trains, and ferries, as well as electronic fare cards when used for an extended period.
Sept. 12: Remove federal income tax from maternity and parental benefits under employment insurance, by providing a tax credit of 15 per cent for any income earned under these two programs.
Sept. 18: Extend full public dental coverage to households making less than $70,000, and partial coverage to households with incomes between $70,000 and $90,000, starting in 2020.
Sept. 17: Build 500,000 new affordable homes over 10 years, starting with an immediate investment of $5 billion.
Sept. 15: Give Quebec new funding to help integrate immigrants, increased powers in areas such as environmental assessment and trade agreements, expand the province’s language law, Bill 101, to cover all federally regulated companies in Quebec, the right to withdraw from federal programs with financial compensation. Also, let Quebec sign the Constitution on its own terms.
Sept. 14: Establish a national automotive strategy, including a $300-million auto innovation fund. Purchase Canadian-made zero-emissions vehicles to update government fleets. Increase consumer incentives for zero-emissions vehicles to $15,000 from $5,000, but only for vehicles made in Canada.
Create a Canadian food strategy to help build local food hubs that link local producers to consumers, and encourage community-supported agriculture.
Sept. 13: Put a price cap on cellphone and internet services, introduce a telecom consumers’ bill of rights, require service providers to offer basic plans and affordable unlimited data plans for cellphones, end caps for internet plans.
Sept. 12: Work with province and municipality to get a hospital built in Brampton, Ont.
Sept. 21: Address opioid deaths by declaring a national health emergency, decriminalizing drug possession, increasing supports for mental health and addiction, and boosting funding to community-based organizations to test drugs and support drug users. Ensure that Naloxone kits are widely available to treat overdoses.
Sept. 20: Spend $600 million in 2020-21, rising to $720 million by 2023, to develop regional rail networks and strengthen rail connections between regions, and building high-speed rail in the Toronto-Ottawa-Quebec City triangle and the Calgary-Edmonton corridor. Rebrand the Gas Tax Fund as the Municipal Fund and ensure a doubling of current funding for transit and other urban infrastructure. Create a national cycling and walking infrastructure fund.
Sept. 19: Lower the federally set price for cannabis to make it competitive with illegal supplies; eliminate requirements for excess plastic packaging on legal cannabis; remove sales tax on medicinal marijuana products; allow outdoor production of cannabis; impose organic production standards for cannabis.
Sept. 18: Expand medicare system to include dental care for low-income Canadians.
Sept. 17: Require political parties to follow the Privacy Act; prohibit warrantless intrusions on Canadians’ communications, ban cyber-surveillance programs that use bulk data collection; increase the powers of the federal privacy commissioner; and require companies to respect a “right to be forgotten” online.
Sept. 16: View all policy through the lens of the climate crisis: the economy, health, education, foreign affairs, immigration, public safety, defence, social welfare, transportation.
Re-introduce legislation to enshrine the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in Canadian law and implement the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
Create universal pharmacare.
Eliminate post-secondary tuition fees and forgive federal student debt.
Create a “guaranteed livable income” program.
Set the federal minimum wage at $15 per hour.
Require a 60-per-cent cut in Canada’s greenhouse-gas emissions below 2005 levels by 2030, reaching net zero in 2050; have 100 per cent of Canada’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2030; ban the sale of cars with combustion engines by 2030.
End pipeline, coal, oil or gas drilling and mining approvals, cancel the Trans Mountain pipeline and fossil-fuel subsidies.
Ban the production, distribution and sale of unnecessary or non-essential petroleum-based single-use plastics by 2022.
Decriminalize drug possession and lower the federally set price for cannabis to make it competitive with illegal supplies.
Eliminate mandatory minimum criminal sentences.
Ensure that the 2019 election is the last “first past the post” election and lower the voting age to 16.
Apply a corporate tax on transnational e-commerce companies doing business in Canada such as Netflix, Facebook, Amazon, Google, and Uber.
Increase the federal corporate tax rate from 15 to 21 per cent.
Limit credit-card interest rates to a maximum of 10 percentage points above the Bank of Canada prime rate, and limit ATM fees to $1 per transaction, as well as ban financial institutions from charging their own customers ATM fees.
Study the impacts of adopting a shorter work week.
Reform anti-trust laws to enable the break-up of media conglomerates, increase funding to CBC and Radio-Canada by $315 million per year until the per-capita level of funding is equal to that of the BBC.
Eliminate the first-time home-buyer grant.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 20, 2019.
The Canadian Press