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Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are trying to pass themselves off as friends of working people, but their agenda promises bad news for working women and men. And on every substantial point for working people, NDP policies come out much further ahead. The best way to defeat a Conservative majority is to vote for the NDP.

The NDP supports a public, non-profit child care program and is ready to invest in building it. But the Conservatives, behind their rhetoric about giving working families “choice” in child care, will actually diminish women’s choice by dropping plans for a national child care program.

Offering tax cuts that amount to an insulting $25 a week will not help parents afford quality child care programs. And the Conservative plan to increase child care spaces by offering incentives to corporations and other employers, with no conditions attached, will just subsidize a few private spaces. Conservatives’ policies limit the real choices of working women, but maybe that’s the plan?

A political party that is genuinely on the side of working people would strongly advocate protecting and improving workers’ pensions and the Canada Pension Program (CPP). That’s what the NDP is doing, but the Conservatives are doing neither. They encourage individual savings plans rather than strong defined benefit workplace pensions and want to push the CPP investment fund to “maximize” returns rather than allow for socially responsible policy objectives. But investing CPP funds in the stock market can be a dangerous way to build a secure future – ask former Nortel and Enron employees.

The NDP has promised tax cuts for working people, but not at the expense of social programs and public services. Behind the Conservative “tax cut” rhetoric lies the “social program cut” reality. Their plans rely on cutting government spending by an additional $22.5 billion to pay for tax cuts and increased spending on the military but they have not come clean on exactly what they would cut to afford all their tax cuts.

One thing we do know is that the more you earn, the more you benefit from Conservative (and Liberal) tax cuts. Harper’s pledge to cut the GST by two cents would save between $100 and $200 for lower income and working families, but they would face higher costs for other programs such as child care. Working families would be much better off with strong public programs, the lower income tax cut and the $1,000 increase to the Canada Child Tax supported by the NDP.

The Conservatives are no friends of working peoples’ rights. Indeed, their leader has always been against unions and laws that improve workers’ lot. Harper once railed against NDP labour laws in British Columbia that made it harder to decertify a bargaining unit and harder for privatizers to dump worker’s rights when services were privatized as “union-totalitarianism.”

Last year, the Conservatives voted against anti-scab legislation in the House of Commons. This progressive legislation had the full support of the NDP caucus as well as many Liberals and the Bloc Quebecois. Most Conservative caucus members opposed it.

No matter how hard the Conservatives try to pass themselves off as friends of working people, their record and their leader reveal their true intentions: erode labour rights, privatize pensions, reward the rich while cutting social programs and dash the hopes for a national child care program.

When you contrast the sorry Conservative reality with NDP policies, it’s clear which party is truly on the side of working people. It’s easy to vote positive when you know what side the parties are really on.