Liberals unveil electoral platform

$8-billion plan focuses on family care


The Liberal Party has unveiled their $8-billion electoral platform, entitled “Your Family. Your Future. Your Canada,” that focuses on strengthening families and post-secondary education. Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff presented the platform at an “online town hall” in Ottawa on Sunday. Chief among the Liberals’ platform proposal is the Liberal Family Care plan, which will provide $1-billion dollars for families to care for sick and dying relatives by allowing six months of compassionate care leave and a $1,350 tax benefit, and the Canadian Learning Passport, which will also cost $1-billion and would provide $4,000 to the RESPs of high school students applying for university. Ignatieff said the Liberal Party would pay for their platform spending without raising taxes but by restoring corporate tax rates back to 2010 levels while eliminating tax breaks for oil sands development, canceling the Harper government’s F-35 fighter jet deal and the Public Private Partnership Infrastructure Fund. Ignatieff took a dig at Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s proposed Family Tax Cut, which would allow couples to split their incomes but would not be implemented until the deficit has been eliminated in 2015-2016, saying “we can do it now.” Finance Minister Jim Flaherty called the Liberal platform a “high-spending, high-tax agenda,” and will be giving a press conference in Toronto on Sunday afternoon to comment on it.

CBC News


Liberals unveil electoral platform

  1. How refreshing. Putting your platform out there for all Canadians to see, to debate, accept or reject.
    How refreshing. Taking unscripted questions.
    How refreshing.

  2. Jim Flaherty called the Liberal platform a “high-spending, high-tax agenda,” …and a 56 billion dollar deficiet, 500 billion dollar dept, is not high spending and a tax on future generations of Canadians? The tory bosses had better come up with some new talking points for their puppets soon.
    Good to see the end to the 3Ps as well.

  3. The online platform launch was a great idea, especially when they started taking questions from the online audience. Ignatieff appeared knowledgeable, approachable, and passionate. The message was clear: spend in areas that will help Canadians and stop spending in areas that won't. NDP, Green, Progressive Conservatives should all support the Liberals this time around so we can remove Harper and focus on smart governing.

  4. This budget is proof that a Coalition has been negotiated.this is a socialist budget that Jack and Giles have already agreed to go up the hill for signing.. It may please the socialist bent in this country but to the hard working middle class it will be misery. Even the most Liberal media should point out to Canadians that to increase the Corporate tax after the Liberals voted in past budgets may get you votes but is suicide for our economy.If this does not tell Canadians that the Liberals will renege on any promise once they achieve power.We had gained the reputation as one of the great countries to attract business. .Our tax base from the corporate sector has increased by making Canada attractive to business. What I find difficult is the right of center Liberals who are going to have to explain this to their constituents when and if this comes to pass under a Liberal socialist Regime.When business starts moving out.when banks and oil companies increase the cost to consumer for goods and services to cover this unexpected tax increase.For all you lefties who are employed by large companies from banks to auto makers to oil companies etc.Take the time this week to discuss this with your management

    • What unmitigated rubbish! You must be an American at heart if you think this is "Socialism." I cannot see the banks making multi-billions of dollars in profit throughout the recession going exactly bankrupt because of maintaining tax at levels of just a few months ago. Get real!

      • Where will these Corporate giants be creating their alleged jobs? I'm not paying taxes to subsidize a Corporations international relocation plans. When will their shareholders start really earning their own way? I don't see much investment "risk taking" with all these tax breaks and bail outs. Get them off our backs! When will a political leader step up and ensure Canadian Corporations and these "business giants" stop inflating their costs above the abismal Cost of living increases the Canadian middle class have endured for years? Good-bye Harper!

  5. I don't think Harper thought the Liberals would be so organized this time out. The fitness tax credit just looks kind of lame in comparison.

    • Too soon for a Harper/fitness joke? Or should we wait until after the campaign?

  6. What, no mention of the Liberal Cap and Trade carbon tax ("like the one in Europe")?

    We can't afford this party. There's tax raises in there for everyone, and it attacks the economy negatively. Great. Nothing like higher taxes and no prospects.

    • 30 billion, plus unspecified billions for jet planes; 9 billion plus unspecified billions for new jails. The Liberal platform will be less expensive than the Conservative status quo. What do you mean, "We can't afford them?" We cannot afford Harper. And not only for economic reasons. PM_SHrug, let's shrug him off!

      • The $30B for the fighter program will, if the service life of the fighter is as long as that of the F18s, be less than $1B per year. Have you thought to ask how the Liberals plan to cut the deficit from $40B to $14B in two years, since they promise that, too?

        • Funny you should ask that Brad, given you support a party in contempt that managed to squander a 13 billion dollar surplus into a 56 billion dollar deficit…much of it spent on self-aggrandizing propaganda for the CONs. Get real.

        • So here's the tory message, We produce Canada's highest deficiet in history (56 billion). Squander a liberal 13 billion surplus, produce the highest debt in Canadian history (500 billion) and then they say to us 'we will balance the budget'? History shows that liberals balance budgets and tories squander our tax dollars.

          • Are you nuts? We never had big deficits until PET. Guess what? He was a LIBERAL.

          • PET died like 10 years ago. Your man Stephen is racking up massive deficits RIGHT NOW

          • And Mulroney rapidly outstripped him in deficit spending and debt creation. He was a CONSERVATIVE.

            Then Chretien came in and turned things around: fiscal surpluses; significant debt reduction. He was a LIBERAL.

            And now we're all caught up with recent fiscal history… hope you don't mind the gap-filling, o forgetful one!

          • Indeed, a generation ago, things were different.

            Do try to keep up.

  7. The Liberals put Canada in the economic position that enabled it to weather the worst of the Great Recession. Rather than implement naive free-market fundamentalist policies, the Liberals did it right. If Harper had been in power for the last 20 years we would be a deregulated mess, much like the US.

    I trust the Liberals to keep Canada's economy strong while helping those most in need. The Harper Republicans should up and move to Texas.

    • Smear tactics don't work. They're just annoying.

      The Liberal budget is disconnected from the global economy. Ignatieff's policies will harm our economy and increase our taxes.

      It is the Conservatives who are continuing with the prudent financial agenda espoused by Paul Martin throughout his tenure. Martin, for his part, borrowed his policies from the Progressive Conservatives.

      In this fragile global economy it's more important than ever to go the extra mile to attract investment. Industrialized countries from across the world are competing for available business and are getting desperate. (see Ireland, Portugal). Stephen Harper's Conservatives have their fingers squarely on the pulse of the global situation and are acting prudently by lowering corporate taxes.

      Ignatieff, by comparison, is embarrassingly ignorant of the current economic realities, in spite of all his bluster.

      • Disconnected in what way?

        • It has buried, on page 46, the Liberal cap-and-trade system and Ignatieff refused to talk about it today (just like he avoided that question on decriminalizing marijuana).

          This will destroy the Canadian economy and transfer vast sums of wealth outside the country. Cap-and-trade is dead in the U.S. and carbon exchanges closed because it's all bogus. Get this, Ignatieff says he will commit us to reducing our emissions to 90% less than 1990 levels in the year 2050 (when Iggy will be 103). He commits us to an output of 118 megatonnnes of output in 2050 while in 2008 our output was 734 megatonnes. It will kill the Canadian economy.

          This nothing short of a second national Energy Program and we all remeber what NEP did to our economy in 1981 and from which we are only recovering now.

          • The CPC have been promising a cap-and-trade scheme for years now…

          • …with a big wink! wink! to the Albertans. They know he'll never follow through, because if he said it, it has to be a lie.

          • If we continue on the route we're going, with massive reliance on the Energy Industry, our economy is going to be dead within the next generation anyway. Energy demand is rising far faster than our productive capacity. Green technologies will become exceedingly viable within the next 6-10 years, and once that gets rolling we'll see energy demand stagnate and prices plummet, especially as the increased availability of green-tech will make it more viable for governments to pass increasingly stringent pollution laws without significantly affecting their own population.

            If we haven't gotten our crap together and gone well beyond the energy industry — especially the high emission forms — we're going to be sitting in the cold and thinking that the recession of 08-10 was living the high-life by comparison.

            Incidentally, the NEP did jack and squat to our economy. What happened to our economy is what's going to happen again, because we haven't yet learned the lesson that basing our economy on the exportation of a very narrow set of resource-commodities is bloody stupid. I mean, unless you're somehow blaming NEP for the drop in oil prices world wide, you obviously don't know your history. Just your gut.

      • That sounds good but the truth is that corporate tax cuts don't do anything but give corporations more profits. They don't hire anyone or expand, they just take the profits and put them in their pockets. The true engine of any economy is the consumer. Catering to corporations may be a plank for Mr. Harper but it really rankles me that he is offering tax cuts for corporations that have announced record profits in the last few years while they continue to lay off thousands.
        Suggesting that this Conservative government has some international savvy really demonstrates who is out of touch and it isn't Mr. Ignatieff. The government of Mr. Harper has managed to diminish Canada internationally to the extent that we are no longer respected anywhere. The Harper Government has followed in the footsteps of the Bush regime in crafting their international policies. Contrary to your assertion that they have a finger on the pulse of the world they have no idea what the rest of the world thinks and losing a seat to Portugal on the Security Council is ample proof of the disconnect between the Harper Government and the international community.

        • couldn't have said it better myself! Bravo.

  8. p.s. We're a Parliamentary democracy, coalitions are expected. Yet, the Cons Republican consultants have turned coalition into a bad word. Coalition = majority rule. Simple.

    • Jon, the 2008 NDP/Liberal coalition accord can be found here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/pdf/081201_Accord_en.pdf

      Please notice the clause in item #3.

      "Furthermore, upon its formation, the government will put in place a permanent
      consultation mechanism with the Bloc Québécois."

      Also, please notice that in item #2 the Liberals agree to give the NDP 6 seats in cabinet.

      Item 6 reveals that the term of this accord ends on June 30, 2011. This means that the current Liberals are on the hook legally to implement the terms of this "coalition accord" if they win the election.

      The "Cons" have rightly surmised that your average Canadian would be horrified to know that the Liberals are legally bound to give the Bloc special "consulting" status in a Liberal government if they win this election. In my mind, they are simply sounding the alarm, and completely justified in doing so.

      Please use facts to support your statements. Otherwise, your comments add nothing to the debate.

      • Duceppe has already rejected the Liberal plan because it doesn't include the HST billions they want. Harper has promised it to Quebec by September. So Harper has now got the support of the dreaded separatists. There goes any 'left wing' coalition.

      • That agreement has less teeth than Harper's election act. You remember that one, right The one he ignored when it was convenient? Iggy already renegged on the coalition agreement; if he hadn't, he would have been PM these last two years.

  9. When the Liberals were in office we saw massive cutting of transfers to the provinces for Health, Education and Social Services, the raiding of the pensions of the Public Service, the RCMP and the Military, the illegal appropriation of some $54 Billion Dollars paid by workers and their employers into EI, myriad scandals involving graft and corruption by the Liberal Party, the most notable being ADSCAM, and one of the most infamous quotes coming from Justice Gomery saying of the Liberal Party, 'they are criminally organized”.

    The Liberal Party is toast, there is no way back.

    Will Ignatieff suggest a national carbon tax just like the hapless Dion did before him?

    Cap and trade, same bloody thing, if the cost of energy goes up everything costs more.

    Iffy claimed the carbon tax was his idea.

    And when will they pay back that missing $40 Million from ADSCAM?

    What about the $162 Million Taxpayer Dollars Paul Martin's CSL received while he was Finance Minister?

    • Just as an aside, Harper has lived in Canada all his life, Iggy can't say the same, yet he wants to rule this country? I think not.

      • This is ludicrous. Why should having lived outside the country disqualify anyone from anything? Who honestly buys this?

        If anything, worldliness adds to the person's value as an executive. They can bring new ideas and valuable context to the table that a down-home good-ole-boy might not have been exposed to. They might get along better with foreign leaders, which is important when it comes time to solve problems that extend beyond our borders.

        In the world of business, especially at the executive level, worldliness is universally seen as a valuable trait. Surely, the very business-minded Conservatively-inclined voters can see that this is a positive trait, not a negative.

        Oh wait, I forgot, consistency is less important than winning. Even if it means temporarily discarding some of your most treasured principles.

        • Gary is the Canadian version of the "birthers" in the United States. The days when we could laugh at American politics and the crazy republicans down south are over. Canada is becoming no different, and it's sad.

    • And Had Mulrooney known how to budget, perhaps those cuts wouldn't have been necessary.

      That said, I'll grant that Mulrooney wasn't that bad at budgeting.. better than Flaherty at least.

  10. Ignatieff's budget reveals an embarrassing ignorance of the current global financial situation. He's completely out of touch with the global economy.

    Industrialized countries like Ireland and Portugal are in desperate straights and are competing hard for investment. The Conservatives realize this and have prudently initiated a corporate tax cut to position Canada competitively so as to keep our economic edge.

    All of Mr. Ignatieff's social spending cannot be supported if there isn't a strong economic tax-base. His budget is tantamount to biting the hand that feeds us.

    The Conservatives have tabled a budget that is appropriate for the current financial situation. They are the ones who are continuing in the sound economic principles espoused by Paul Martin and the Progressive Conservatives before him.

    • You talk about how Ignatieff is 'out of touch with the global economy' and yet I can find nothing in your posts to suggest you have even a first-year understanding of economic theory.

      What are your credentials?

      From where do you draw your expertise?

      • Currently, I'm a senior manager for a large construction company. I've been involved in management for large projects overseas, although in recent years I've been overseeing projects solely in Canada. Projects I've managed range in value from $3 mil to $75 mil.

        Previously, I ran my own small contracting company for nearly a decade. Basically, I acquired most of my business acumen from this experience.

        Other than that, I own and co-own a few investment properties.

        By training I'm a Red-Seal Carpenter and a certified Gold-Seal Project Superintendent.

        None of this is to suggest that I'm an economic guru. However, it is a subject I've taken a keen interest in over the years.

        • Fair enough, I suggest you broaden your readings to include economists who are not members of the discredited Friedmanite school ("cutting taxes will increase revenues")

          • Instead of crafting ad hominem attacks you should attend a class in critical thinking.

          • When right wingers talk about 'critical thinking,' what they really mean is 'cognitive dissonance'

          • Fair enough, as long as you broaden your readings not to include members of the discredited Keynesianite school. ("you can spend your way out of a recession")

            Back to the point, there are some interesting and, dare I say, positive elements to Ignatieffs proposed budget. (e.g. Innovation tax credit) However, the problem is with the fundamentals. Ignatieff bases his ability to spend on social services using money retrieved from quitting the planned corporate tax cut. Apart from exaggerating the revenues inf the difference of percentage points, I believe this represents a failure to adequately gauge the fragile nature of the global economic recovery. The tax cut is intended to woo investment at a time when other countries are desperately trying to lure investment for their economies. The tax cut is measured to assure that Canada will be a tier one investment opportunity for global and home-grown investors. By attracting investment now, Canada will be set up to benefit most from any global economic recovery. It's the right move at the right time; smart economics.

        • Given your sterling financial pedegree, you may wish to lend some advice to economist-in-training Stephen Harper, whose only private sector experience came from a mail room job his father secured for him. Other bold Harper economic theories include the "if we were going to have a recession, we'd have had it already" theory, first boldly proposed in September 2008, and disproven by events that occured previously to Harper having put forth his theory.

          • Stephen and Joe don't need my advice. They've got a good handle on things already.

            Now Micheal…he could use a little lecturing.

    • Yeah, waste 30 billion on untendered and unnecessary jets to protect us from the "Russkies" in arctic…waste 15 billion on prisons to house people convicted of unreported crimes. Wow…sounds like the CONS have really dreamed up a budget for the "current financial situation"….If you believe that tripe I've got a bridge in brooklyn to sell you….

      • You can learn more about the Joint Strike Fighter program at: f-35.ca

        The multi-nation cooperative JSF development program was intended to provide needed air force procurement to participating nations in a way that benefited the aerospace industries of those nations. Canada signed on under the Liberals in 1997 and added another $150 million for the 2nd phase in 2002, again under the Liberals. The Conservatives have continued in that commitment to the program.

        So far the program has produced $350 million in contracts to the Canadian aerospace engineering. It also ensures future business for Canadian corporations. It has been a good investment for Canada, ensuring the "long-term strength of Canada's first class aerospace industry."

        The Liberals know this. They have all the information. They are just abusing parliamentary rules to play cheap partisan games.

    • The tories didn't even know there was a crisis comming so how can you say Harper has his finger on the pulse of the global economy?

  11. Fisal responsibilty? many new public servants to implement this Family Pack? Apparently the liberals used similar platforms multiple times since early 1990's to help get elected under Chetien, and also Chetien augmented that platform promise with a promise to get rid of the GST/ Free Trade/ other(?) and if I remember correctly a helicopter deal…the one promise Chetien did keep was the helly deal; and it cost taxpayers 700million$$ – good economics – good mgmt (?) The GST ( designed by Conservatives in Government ) was kept by the liberals and provided the them loads of funds – as the GST increased from about $14B in early 1990's to $35B in 2005 – hey, the liberals now take credit for eliminating the annual dept and paying down the deficit. The one policy I am aware of that was implemented by the liberals, in that same time period, was cut to federal health care budget by 13% <despite full page ads from the Premiers of the Provinces>. Will the liberal leader keep his promises this time – oh, he'll likely get rid of the F35 for another loss of $$miliions. Can we believe the liberals will implement? How are they going to pay for it?

  12. Ignatieff just dealt his campaign a death blow.

    • Yup. Keep drinking that CON kool aid. Harper will be flushed down the sewer of neo-con history come May 2.

      • I'm sure that's why nanos has the Tories at 40% and the Grits at 29%

        • Nanos polls are made up! They support the tories and are hired by the right wing CTV to make Canadians think the tories will win a majority so hey, you all might as well vote tory!

  13. Canadian Learning Passport will take $2232 away from students and restrict their access to $4000 in 0% interest government loans.

    Raising taxes on businesses will drive businesses away who are coming to Canada because we're undercutting other countries who are bringing in austerity measures.

    Eliminating tax breaks for oil sands development will decimate jobs which Canadians from Newfoundland to Alberta and everywhere in between depend on for their livelihoods.

    Canceling the F-35 fighter jets will set us back farther then Chretian with his bungled helicopters.

    And cancelling the Public-Private Partnership Infrastructure Fund will hurt communities like mine, Halifax, that is in the process of building a convention centre/office complex where a Fortune 500 company wants to base its international headquarters precisely because of the low corporate tax rates. Thats hundreds of families that will buy houses and pay taxes in Halifax gone so Ignatieff can build an arena in Quebec for a hockey team that doesn't exist.

    • Your opinions mirror the rest of the Cons, I've never been a Liberal but fear that Harpers regime would implement their agenda immediatley ensuring any opposition/backlash would be too late. This country would then be a mere shadow of what the real majority of Canadians stand for. I do not think I am alone in this belief either.

      • If the Conservatives win a majority, than it's safe to say that the real majority of Canadians have good, pragmatic, sensible, fiscal opinions about our economy.

  14. Did everyone miss the "CAP and TRADE SYSTEM program also announced ?


    Cloaked deeply within the platform's nether regions.

    A program that will destroy our economy (and one which has been rightfully abandoned by other nations which dabled in this ecosocialist voodoo),

    snuck in without fanfare.

    All while Iggy wags his finger about the need for transparency.

    Can it get more outrageous?

    Why yes, yes it can. It gets more outrageous when the media cheerleaders actively play defence by either ignoring this massive elephant in the room, or worse, advocating for it.

    • You mean like the Harper cap and trade system he's committed to? Of course, Harper's commitments usually are meaningless.

  16. If you buy goods that are delivered by anything other than magical unicorns, your prices will rise.

    If you work for an organization that heats its offices and runs its factories on anything other than the labors of elves on treadmills, your jobs will decline.

    If you own shares in a company that relies on pixie dust to produce economic output, you'll be fine. Otherwise, say good by to a significant portion of our RRSP's and pension funds, which own shares in non-pixie dust reliant energy.

    Welcome to Iggy's radical eco-socialist program.

    A Canada "We Deserve", so say's the finger wagging professor who's apparently here to teach us Canadians a very painful lesson on the evils of wanting a comfortable Western way of life.

    • And when these things happen anyway, the inevitable result of decades of class warfare and political engineering by the wealthiest billionaires, you will continue to blame the working class unions, the middle class intellectuals, and the awful evil socialists who have been fighting to establish and preserve your comfortable way of life since your grandfather was in diapers.

    • This is engaging in fear mongering. We can debate the merits of cap-and-trade, but this is the internet equivalent of huddling under a table, screaming and ripping your hair out. It makes you look like a nutter.

      BTW, your dude Harper also supports cap-and-trade. The oil industry also supports cap-and-trade or a carbon tax. It gives them regulatory certainty. Shell already incorporates a $40/tonne CO2 cost into its planning. Let's dispense with the hysterics.

      • Europes experiment with cap and trade has been a total disaster.

        There is no "debate" it is rediculous to put a "cap" on energy, the basic building bloc to all economic output.

        Saying it's a "tax on everything" isn't hyperbole, its simple reality.

        The Liberals literally want to tax everything.

        And buried on page 46 no less. Love the "transparency".

        • Earth to chet. It is a cap on carbon emissions, specifically those released from the burning of fossil fuels, not on energy. Energy != carbon emissions. It is in fact possible to generate large amounts of energy without burning dead plants.

          • Not possible at current prices. Sure you can spend a fortune to try and run the factory on wind, but the plant will go broke.

            The proof is in the pudding: companies utilize the lowest cost inputs. By putting a legislative gun to their head they're costs will rise.

            Which means my costs will rise when I buy their goods, my share values will drop when my mutual funds make lesss as a result, and my job will be less secure when the decision comes as to how to find the increased cost elsewhere.

            Eco socialism, is still socialism. And it's still an economy killer.

  17. So, the Liberals predictably role out the 1993 "RedBook"… again… free money for every special interest in the country without hurting the economy, and without raising taxes. What a load of socialist bulls##t!! Free money and free unicorns for everyone, from the magic Liberal party money tree. What disingenuous, delusional double talk, directed at the far left entitlement mob. Pathetic!!

  18. Promise to spend money, tax the people more because the great Liberal party of Canada knows how to spend my hard eaned money so much better than I do. Billions and billions promised taken from hard working Canadian because governments, especially Liberal Governments, think that they are smarter than I am and can spend my money much more wisely that I can. We are cheating ourselves, and especially our children and grandchildren, who will end up paying for all of these promises.

  19. Wow the liberals must be employing an army of trolls to go to all the forums. Notice how the votes here are in stark contrast to the polls. It smells fishy.

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