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Health care

Liberal
Create a “Canada Health Care Guarantee,” adding the right to timely care and accountability to the Canada Health Act, but no commitment to stronger enforcement of the act.

Conservative
Allow private delivery of health care with public funding. Promises a wait times guarantee, including paying for patients to go to the U.S. for treatment, but no extra money for health care, except $50 million a year for a cancer strategy. Compensate hepatitis C victims. Tax credits for physical fitness activities.

NDP
Stop further privatization of health care, ensuring no federal money is used to subsidize a private health insurance system. Ensure that the Canada Health Act is monitored and enforced. Increase funding for longterm care to 40,000 spaces by 2009 and expand coverage of home care. Introduce a $1 billion per year “National Prescription Drug Plan.” Reduce health care shortages by providing $200 million per year for a “Health Care Provider Training Fund” adding 16,000 health care providers, particularly nurses and nurse practitioners.

Bloc
Immediate compensation for hepatitis C victims. Proposes a right to dignified death (assisted suicide). Federal government to transfer funds to Québec for health research institutes. Proposals to reduce the cost of drugs, but not advocating increased federal funding.

Cities

Liberal
No funding increases to cities, but would make the “Gas Tax Transfer” permanent. Promises new “Community, Sport and Recreational Facility Fund” with $350 million over five years.

Conservative
No increase in funding. Loosen criteria for spending so less money would go to public transit.

NDP
Increase the “Gas Tax Transfer” to municipalities to the full five cents per litre to be used for public transit and sustainable transportation initiatives.

Bloc
Don’t seem to have any policies.

Child care

Liberal
Favours child care as a permanent program, but failed to pass legislation protecting standards and accountability. Beginning 2010 will provide $1.2 billion, claiming funding will create 625,000 new spaces, but amounts are insufficient. Vague promise on buildings to house child care centres. Won’t protect non-profit delivery, leaving the door open for big box child care corporations.

Conservative
Cancel child care agreements with the provinces and territories. Institute a taxable allowance that will provide the least benefit possible and won’t build a child care program. Introduce an incentive to employers and corporations to create child care spaces – a program that will fail to produce child care spaces.

NDP
Introduce legislation to enshrine quality and accessibility principles and make funding conditional on meeting standards. Annual funding starting at $1.8 billion and growing to $2.5 billion by year four to support the creation of 275,000 new non-profit child care spaces. Ensure non-profit delivery that is accountable to parents and communities.

Bloc
Demands the federal government transfer the amount it saves off its taxation of Québec’s low-contribution day-care centres.

Women

Liberal
Promises maternity and parental benefits for the self-employed. Allot $1 billion over five years for development of a national caregiving agenda.

Conservative
There is nothing in their platform.

NDP
Implement the recommendations in the Pay Equity Task Force Final Report. Strengthen programs to reduce domestic violence and prosecute offenders. Expand caregivers program allowing caregivers, usually women, to receive one year of Employment Insurance while caring for a sick or elderly family member with no penalties on public pension benefits.

Bloc
Modify the Employment Insurance system to allow genuine access for women and youth.

Privatization

Liberal
Offers no restrictions on privatizing health care, child care or community infrastructure. Public private partnerships are mandatory for “New Deal for Cities and Communities” funding.

Conservative
Advocates privatization and private delivery of publicly subsidized health care. Supports privatization across the spectrum: education, health care, municipal services and infrastructure. Cut over $22 billion on public services, increase user fees, redirect spending on public transit to roads, eliminate the national child care plan and provide massive subsidies for private developers of “affordable housing.”

NDP
Opposes privatization and would increase spending on health, education, transit and other public services. Stop further health care privatization and strongly enforce the Canada Health Act. Expand the public health care system, reduce monopoly patent powers, ensure that a national child care system is not privatized and fund an affordable co-op housing program. Increase funding for public education and work with provinces to protect education and research from greater privatization.

Bloc
Supportive of public services and says the role of government is to ensure universal access. Wants more support for co-ops, non-profits and for the “social economy.”

Post-secondary education

Liberal
Substantial spending for grants but no increase in core funding for universities and colleges; tuition fees have more than doubled under the Liberals while student debt has reached on average over $25,000.

Conservative
Policy includes regressive income-contingent loans harming lower paid graduates. These schemes also pave the way to higher tuition fees and increased student debt. No commitment for core funding for universities and colleges.

NDP
Restore core funding through a dedicated transfer to the provinces conditional on tuition fee reductions and quality improvement. Establish national system of grants.

Bloc
Raise federal transfers for post-secondary education and social programs by $2.75 billion over three years for Quebec.

Housing

Liberal
Develop a long-term “Canadian Housing Framework” with new benchmarks for increasing housing and reducing the number of homeless, but no commitment to funding or to number of units. Ensure federal housing programs within framework available to new and existing co-ops.

Conservative
Give private developers $200 million a year in tax credits without making them charge lower rents or rents geared to income. Inhibit non-profit social housing by not funding new development or upgrading old housing.

NDP
Restart a 10-year national housing program to build 200,000 affordable and co-op housing units, renovate 100,000 existing units, rent supplements to 40,000 low-income tenants. Underwrite low-interest mortgages for affordable housing and make it easier for community-based housing organizations to get funding.

Bloc
Reinvest in social housing gradually to reach an objective of almost $2 billion in investments per year in affordable and social housing.

Human Rights

Liberal
Seek constitutional amendment to end federal ability to invoke notwithstanding clause. Launch a series of initiatives aimed at promotion and protection of human rights including educational programs, scholarships and research.

Conservative
Ignore the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and revisit same-sex marriage with a free vote in Parliament. Take away voting rights for prisoners that have already been decided by the Supreme Court of Canada. Violate international human rights standards by hastily deporting people without due process, placing many at risk of torture.

NDP
Extend retroactive Canada Pension Plan survivor benefits for same-sex couples.

Bloc
Ensure that any legislative measure pertaining to terrorism respects a balance between security and freedom

Poverty

Liberal
Provide $250 energy cost relief for families receiving National Child Benefit Supplement and Guaranteed Income Supplement. Create working income tax benefit to supplement low-income workers.

Conservative
Create tax credit of up to $500 per year per child under age 16 registered in physical fitness programs.

NDP
Child Tax Benefit reaches $4,200/child/year by 2010. Raise minimum wage to $10 per hour.

Bloc
Extend Unemployment Insurance benefits to seasonal workers and improve access for women and youth. Ensure seniors receive their full Guaranteed Income Supplement.

U.I.(Unemployment insursnce)

Liberal
Introduce family leave plan under Employment Insurance to provide two months of benefits to those who give care to ill family members. Begin consultations to design maternity and parental benefits program for the self-employed. Eliminate the two-week waiting period for qualified apprentices.

Conservative
No increased EI benefits. Policy calls for EI system to become independent of government.

NDP
Reform EI by increasing coverage for workers with entrance requirement of 360 hours using best 12 weeks of employment to determine EI benefit levels. Provide up to one year of EI for caregivers while caring for a sick or elderly family member.

Bloc
Reform EI system to increase coverage for seasonal workers, women and youth. Have federal government refund money taken out of the EI fund. Reduce entrance requirement to 360 hours, and establish an EI program for the self-employed.

War, peace, global development and trade

Liberal
No increase in funding for international development assistance. Establish a “Pearson Scholarship” program for international development and human rights and would push for establishment of a United Nations “Human Rights Council.” Push for a treaty to ban all weapons in space. Moved towards greater integration with U.S. and negotiated faulty free trade agreements.

Conservative
Increase development assistance to Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development average, but fall short of the 0.7 per cent target of gross national income. Advance Canada’s interests through foreign aid and foreign policy, including support for “free markets and free trade.” Open to Canada joining President George W. Bush’s missile defence system. Increase spending on defence by $5.3 billion; establish a “Canadian Foreign Intelligence Agency.” Push for Free Trade Area of the Americas agreement and free trade agreements with Japan, India and other Asia- Pacific countries.

NDP
Honour UN’s Millennium Development goals and commit to increase foreign aid budget to 0.7 per cent by 2015 and develop an aggressive debt cancellation strategy. Improve aid effectiveness and establish poverty reduction as priority. Implement “Pledge to Africa” legislation to send HIV/AIDS treatment drugs to developing countries. Review NORAD agreement and integration with U.S. military; reorient defence programs to support peacekeeping. Total defence spending would not be reduced. Transform NAFTA to achieve a fair trade policy.

Bloc
Increase aid to reach the UN’s 0.7 per cent target by 2015. Expect a study by Parliament of any defence purchases in excess of $100 million and real consultation on increases in defence spending. Wants Québec to have role in international forums related to its own jurisdiction – such as in culture, education and health care. Federal government to renegotiate NAFTA.

Environment

Liberal
Improve monitoring and standards for clean air. Require 5 per cent renewable fuels content in gasoline and diesel fuels. Expand national parks and protected areas network with $150 million over five years. Implement a 10-year $1-billion plan to improve water quality.

Conservative
Pull out of the Kyoto agreement, reduce spending on climate change initiatives by at least $2 billion and align with the U.S. on climate change issues. Reduce public spending on public transit and increase spending on roads. Provide a tax credit for transit passes. Develop a “Clean Air Act” to reduce smog-causing pollutants and require 5 per cent renewable content in gas and diesel fuel by 2010. No increased spending on environment in other areas. “Streamline” regulations and increase subsidies for resource industries, with none directed to reducing pollution. Require 10 per cent. Canadian ethanol content for gas and diesel fuels.

NDP
Introduce a “Clean Water Act” to: establish national standards and protection for drinking water and provisions over bulk water export; set a firm target on reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with Kyoto. Overhaul Canadian Environmental Protection Act with mandatory pollution prevention measures to reduce toxic pollutants and introduce the polluter-pay concept. Increase funding for energy retrofit programs, renewable energy production, public transit, green cars, rail, cycling and pedestrian facilities.

Bloc
Wants the federal government to enforce Kyoto in a fair and just way without making Québec pay for adaptation of Alberta’s oil industry or Ontario’s auto industry. Supports more investment in wind power and in alternatives to fossil fuels. Wants the federal government to establish genetically modified organism (GMO) free zones and to take the GST off fuel-efficient vehicles.

Taxes

Liberal
Proposes $30 billion in personal income tax cuts over five years. Almost $10 billion in corporate income tax cuts, including measures in 2005 budget. Income tax benefit for lowincome workers. Increase dividend tax credit and won’t tax income trusts. Increase life-time capital gains exemption for small businesses. Proposed tax measures overwhelmingly benefit corporations and the wealthy.

Conservative
Lower GST by two percentage points within five years, costing over $32 billion. Reverse lowand middle-income tax cuts supported by other parties. Further reduce taxes for business by increasing small business deduction and rate. Won’t tax income trusts and would increase dividend tax credit. Eliminate capital gains tax when reinvesting, which would provide billions in tax breaks to the wealthy. Cut taxes for corporations and the wealthy by billions, while providing middle- and lower-income Canadians with a only few hundred dollars in reduced taxes cuts per year.

NDP
Redirect the $10-billion corporate tax cut promised by the Liberals and Conservatives into health and education. Supports the low- and middle-income tax cuts announced by the Liberals. Increase the Child Tax Benefit by $1,000 per child.

Bloc
Supports low- and middleincome tax cuts. Proposes no GST on diapers and products for newborns. Wants the federal government to transfer to Québec the amount that it taxes subsidized child care centres in Québec. Establish a tax credit for families with children under the age of 18. Surtax on profits of large oil companies and close foreign tax haven loopholes.