The Conservative Party of Canada has made its campaign slogan: helping you get ahead. The strategy for the Liberal Party of Canada is not dissimilar. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s reigning party is promising to help the middle class “move forward”. The NDP’s slogan, meanwhile, ensures voters their party is the one “in it for you”. As voters, and taxpayers, it feels like politicians of every stripe suddenly want to stuff money into our pockets. That’s not a bad thing.
2019 Canada Election: What are the federal parties’ tax pledges? (Source: Global News)
But it can be overwhelming to cut through all this noise and understand which party is promising what – and how that will affect our bank accounts. We’ve created an election primer to breakdown all the campaign promises that will supposedly save us money. Now, remember, these are promises made by politicians vying for your vote, so consume with a healthy dose of requisite skepticism.
Liberal Party of Canada
Justin Trudeau is shaking off scandals and blunders and doing everything he can, including canoe photo ops, to put his Liberals back into power with a majority government. To do that he’s out to show voters his party is the best choice for middle-class families needing a break on the affordability front. Here’s some of what Trudeau’s LPC party is calling “a real plan for the middle class”:
- Boost the Canada Child Benefit. Up to $1,000 more to families, with a 15% increase for children under the age of one.
- A tax cut, where a middle-class family gets $600. Voters pay no federal taxes on the first $15,000 they earn, by raising the Basic Personal Amount (BPA) by almost $2,000 for people earning under $147,000 a year.
- Cut the cost of cell and wireless services by 25%, saving an average middle-class family of four nearly $1,000 per year.
- Lower childcare fees for before and after school programs by 10% across the board. For an Ontario family of four with two kids, it will mean about $800 back in their pockets, every year.
- Up to $1,200 more per year for full- and part-time students through increased Canada Student Grants.
Conservative Party of Canada
Andrew Sheer’s Conservatives have also come out swinging for the middle-class vote, promising to make life more affordable in a litany of ways. This is something of a break from the party’s traditional approach of focusing primarily on balanced budgets and pro-business tax breaks. Here’s what the Conservatives are promising to help you get ahead.
- Universal tax cut for all Canadians with an average savings of over $850 per year per couple.
- No GST on home heating costs, saving an average of $107 per year.
- Tax credit for families (of four) who take public transit – a savings up to $1,000.
- Remove taxes from maternity benefits tax-free, saving of up to $4,000 for new parents.
- Re-instating Children’s Fitness Tax Credit, allowing parents to claim up to $1,000 for sports activities.
- Parents can claim up to $500 in tax credits for arts and learning programs.
- RESP boost for parents and their kids’ education. Purported to be $540 more.
New Democratic Party
Like the Conservatives and Liberals, the NDP and its leader Jagmeet Singh are making affordability a key pillar to their campaign. Singh says Canadians are feeling the pinch and not benefiting from Canada’s strong economy the Liberals are claiming responsibility for. Here are some of the NDP’s affordability commitments:
- Expand Medicare to include prescription drug coverage for all Canadians (pharmacare) – a savings of up to $500 per family each year.
- Cap and reduce tuition fees set by provinces with the goal of making post-secondary education part of the public school system.
- Increase income replacement for those on EI to 60% and increase a low-income supplement so no one on EI receives less than $1,200 a month.
- Price cap on cell phone service and high-speed broadband internet – $10 savings per cell or internet bill.
- Fair Gasoline Prices Watchdog to monitor “gouging” and “anti-competitive activity” in the gasoline market.
The Green Party
Elizabeth May’s upstart Green Party unveiled an ambitious platform that looks to improve affordability by reducing poverty and making big investments in what they call the “social contract,” including housing, post-secondary education, childcare and seniors. Here are a few affordability aspects to their platform:
- Establish a Guaranteed Livable Income program to eliminate poverty.
- Raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.
- Make college and university tuition-free and forgive federal student debt.
- Mandate more affordable cell phone and internet plans.
- Universal pharmacare for all Canadians by 2020 to save on prescription medication.
It should be noted the People’s Party of Canada is also running in this election, so check out their website for more info on what they’re promising in terms of pocketbook benefits. Also, be sure to look at each party’s website and platforms closely and use your best judgment as to whether their promises are likely to be kept. Because once elected, politicians have a funny way of conveniently forgetting all the promises they made on the campaign trail.
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