As we enter the final two weeks of one of the longest election campaigns in Canadian history, the battle for the progressive vote appears to be consolidating around the Liberal Party of Canada. There will be much ink spilled after the election as to why this happened. The issue that may receive the most analysis and debate is likely to be the NDP’s commitment to fund all of its platform commitments while keeping the budget in balance. Progressive voters may see this promise as too Conservative-light or simply not believe that this promise can be kept.
The Liberals, on the other hand, have stated that they will meet their significant infrastructure spending promises ($125B over ten years vs. the NDP’s $1.3B over twenty years) by running a series of deficits over the next 3 years.
In terms of taxation, the NDP has stated it will increase the corporate tax rate to 17% (from 15%) while the Liberals have stated it is their plan to decrease the small business tax rate to 9% (from 11%) while ensuring that Canadian Controlled Private Corporation (CCPC) status is not used to reduce personal income tax obligations for high-income earners. The Liberals have vowed to review all tax expenditures in order to target tax loopholes and increase enforcement resources for the Canada Revenue Agency to ensure that tax liabilities are collected.
The environment is another major area of concentration for the Liberals with a focus on climate change, environmental assessments, National Parks, and resource sector subsidies. So far, and perhaps somewhat surprisingly, the NDP has not made a lot of promises in this area that are substantially different than the Liberals’ and in some cases come up short in comparison.
However, the NDP have included healthcare costs in their costing plan while the Liberals, who have released policy documents on how they will involve themselves in the sector, did not include these costs in their fiscal plan.
View the 2015 Election Policy Platform Comparison here.