Election 2015: Parties present duelling economic promises

Different approaches highlight the different philosophies of the main parties in this federal election campaign.

The economy and jobs.

According to most voters those are the top issues in this election as Canada’s economy continues to sputter years after a massive attempt was made to spend its way out way out the effects of the global recession seven years ago.

While it is generally accepted that Canada faired better than many other countries in both the timing and strength of its recovery back then—in large part because this country’s banking system had not been deregulated as it had in countries like the United States—now Canada is lagging behind other nations economically and the Conservatives, Liberals and NDP all say they have the best plan to kick-start the economy and help create jobs.

For the incumbent Conservatives, many of the measures they would use are already in place having been in government for the last 10 years. As expected, theirs appears to be more of a stay-the-course approach.

The Tories say they will continue to balance the budget, bring in billions in already announced tax cuts, including income splitting for families with children under 18 years of a age, reducing the small business tax rate to nine per cent from 11 per cent by 2019, improve programs such as their Universal Child Care Benefit and spend more on their already established infrastructure program announced it the latest federal budget with a new transit fund, which would ramp up to $1 billion by 2020.

The Liberals have also vowed to spend more on infrastructure, which that say will create good-paying jobs and invest in communities as municipalities identify the projects they feel need the funding.

The Liberals are proposing a three-fund approach, with $20 million each for social, green and transportation infrastructure over the next 10 years.

Like the Conservatives, the Liberals would also reduce the small business  tax rate to nine per cent from 11 per cent but would dump the Tory’s Universal Child Care Benefit in favour of their own Canada Child Benefit that would see larger monthly amounts paid to lower income families and less to higher income families.

They would cut income splitting for high-come families.

The big difference between the Tory and Grit approaches, however, is that the Liberals say they will run budget deficits for the first three years of their mandate to fund their infrastructure program.

The Liberals would also cut income tax rates for the middle class, raise them for high earners and invest $200 million to develop new technology in the forestry, fishing, mining, energy and agriculture sectors.

The NDP says it will also balance the budget but has promised billions in spending including $30 million more over three years for promoting Canada as a travel destination to the world, $400 million more to increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement for seniors, a $40 million tax credit for businesses that invest in innovation and development, $160 million over four years to help aerospace companies adopt new technology, $90 million to help the automotive parts industry, $100 million to help create 40,000 more co-op jobs,  $55 million for manufacturing in the forest sector, $40 million for research and development and $10 million to promote Canadian wood products.

The NDP would also reduce the small business tax credit by the same amount as the other two parties but would increase the corporate tax rate for larger companies by two per cent to 17 per cent from 15 per cent.

It would also start talking to the provinces about a partnership to create one million more daycare spaces at a maximum of $15 per day. That plan would take place over eight years.

Like the Liberals, the NDP would also cancel the Tory plan to raise the minimum retirement age to 67, keeping it at 65 and would also launch a multi-million infrastructure program but would do it in large part by increasing transfers to municipalities through programs like the federal gas tax refund.

The NDP is also promising $500 million as an incentive to get more affordable housing built across Canada.