MAJOR ISSUES IN THE CANADIAN FEDERAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2015

MAJOR ISSUES IN THE CANADIAN FEDERAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2015

MAJORISSUES IN THE CANADIAN FEDERAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2015

Canadais expected to hold an election, 2015 Canadian federal election, onOctober 19 this year. The 42ndCanadian general election will see the election of 338 members to theHouse of Commons. Campaign officially kicked off on August 4 afterproclamation by the Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The fixed-dateCanada Election Act establishes the exact date during which thefederal election is held. Contrary to the other campaigns thiscampaign will take a period of eleven weeks the longest in thehistory of the Canadian federal elections. i

Thecampaigns currently are at the climax stage and it is drawing towardsan exciting finish as the candidates showcase their policies ahead ofthe vote. There are several major issues at the heart of thecampaign, which essentially share similar platforms. This works tothe advantage of the conservatives, the ruling party, to stay inpower. In addition the New Democrats and the liberals according toanalysts serve to split the center-left vote that is approximately59% of the electorate, thereby giving the ruling party an upper hand.Based on the recent poll, the conservatives account about 29%, whichby an optimistic calculation indicate they are the frontrunnersbearing in mind the New Democrats and Liberals insist on pretendingthat they give different platforms (Cbc.ca).

However,for any party to emerge with majority votes the candidates areexpected to address the following major issues Pensions forCanadians, Taxation and infrastructure.

Pensionfor Canadians

Thisentails saving for retirement in Canada. The major political partiesare in agreement that Canadians have inadequate policies to preparefor their retirement CITE. According to a survey conducted July thisyear on Canadians pension participation indicate that only 37.9% ofCanadian workers are covered under any kind of workplace RegisteredPension Plan (RPP)ii.This implies that about 62.1% of the Canadians employees heavilydepend on the Quebec Pension Plan, Canada Pension Plan, PersonalSavings and Old Age Security payments (The Globe and Mail).

Manystudies indicate that the employees not covered under RPP in the longrun ultimately face longer working time, have less financial securityand experiences higher rates of poverty in their old age. In effectthe provincial and the federal governments are constantly searchingthe best strategies to sensitize Canadians on the need to save moremoney during their working period (The Globe and Mail).

Theruling party, progressive Conservative party, has made severalreforms in their decade tenure in officeiii. It has made known their operational philosophy regarding Canadianpension plan. In order to further their vision, they have takenseveral steps to encourage the private sector to create savingplatforms to complement the plans offered by the government(Vanderkam and Vanderkam).

Atthis election campaign, the Liberals and New Democrats have takenissue with the plans offered by the ruling party and have offered newreforms to improve the Canada Pension Plans and Quebec considerably(Vanderkam and Vanderkam). They have based their philosophy on thefact that private sector do not offer comprehensive plans andtherefore they claim Canadians requires more than just sensitizationand facilitate sufficient preparation for their retirement.

Buta keen analysis on this topic shows there is virtually insignificantdifference between the New Democrat and liberal positions on thepension plan (Vanderkam and Vanderkam). It is promising that all thecandidates have resolved to bring about major reforms. The liberalcandidate, Justin Trudeau has set to hold talks with the provincialleaders within 90 days upon taking office to address the problem(Vanderkam and Vanderkam). New Democrats leader, Tom Mulcair, isdetermined to resolve the pension problem within 180 days if electedby convening a first Ministers conference on pensions (Vanderkam andVanderkam). While ruling party leader, Stephen Harper, claim that anyplan to expand the Canada Pension Scheme will ultimately burdens theemployers since they will have to make additional contributions whichequals to a job-killing taxiv.

Pensionsare an essential topic touching the Canadians future and it isimportant that the politicians are directly involved in debating theissue and essentially are seeking the public contribution on the bestpossible retirement cover. Therefore it is the responsibility of thevoters to scrutinize the party with the best policies to entrust theleadership of improving the pensions programs (Vanderkam andVanderkam).

Taxation

Taxationis another major issue that affects every Canadian and has not slipoff the parties polices. The ruling party leader, Stephen Harper hasalways claimed the federal taxes are currently lower compared to therates applied fifty years ago. Lowering taxes is the main themeadvanced by the conservatives’ stay in power message. For instance,last year Stephen Harper, the ruling party leader announced new taxcuts amounting to billions of money which significantly benefitedfamilies with children under 18 years of age. In addition, theyimplemented generous Universal Child Care Benefit payment.

Liberalson the other hand, resolved to change personal tax rates. It is theonly party promising to implement a new tax rate of 33 per cent onany income over $ 200,000 (The Globe and Mail). ‘That would helpfund a tax cut on income between $44,701 and $89,401, where the ratewould drop to 20.5 per cent from 22 per cent’, (The Globe andMail). It will also cancel the splitting of income for families butinstead it will retain it for seniors.

TheNew Democrats Party NDP on the other hand has made it their policynot to touch personal income taxes but in effect have resolved toreduce the small-business tax rate to about 9 percent in the next twoyears. But in order to raise the required taxes, the party leaderThomas Mulcair would raise the corporate tax rate but will ensure itis below the normal average rate that has been in place (The Globeand Mail). Before the final leaders debate on September 17, they areplanning to release a complete platform.

Infrastructure

Infrastructuredevelopment is another crucial agenda on this year federal electionswith which the parties has put on offer several lucrative reforms. The conservatives are leading in the race to improve the country’sinfrastructure by allocating more funds. For instance, in the 2015budget they made a long-term infrastructure program by offering a newpublic transit fund that will go a long way to initiate developmentprojects up to $ one billion yearly in 2019-2020 (Cbc.ca). Theconservatives have proved to walk their talk according to theparliamentary Budget Officer this is so because the yearly federalspending on infrastructure has grown significantly from $ 1.7 billionin 2007-08 to about $5-billion a year at the moment (Cbc.ca).

Theliberals on their side are bringing on board major infrastructuralreforms advocated in most of their campaign trails. They haveannounced to run three years with deficits in order to raisesufficient funds to finance major projects and in effect raiseinfrastructure spending (Cbc.ca).The party plans to spend$60-billion in next 10 years on bridges, transit, roads and otherprojects. According to Mr. Trudeau, the municipalities will be giventhe mandate to establish what ought to be build (Cbc.ca).

Ontheir part the New Democratic Party is set to initiate an increase offund transfers to municipalities and thereby enhance transit fundingwhile carefully balancing the books (Cbc.ca). The main transfer ofFederal gas tax, which is integral to the expenditure of themunicipalities, will be increased gradually above the current annuallevel of $2.1 billion. They plan if elected to power to maketransfers to be worth $3.7 billion in their fourth year of operation(Cbc.ca). According to the party leader, they intend to increase itsspending on transit to be slightly above that of the conservativeswithin two years of operations, increasing to $ 1.3 billion a year bythe fought year that translates to about $300 million more than theTories (Cbc.ca). Further, NDP has made a policy to initiate aone-time $ 500 million incentive intended to develop new affordablehousing and annual funding for existing affordable housing programsthat would grow to $650 million a year (Cbc.ca).

Itis apparent that in order to command majority votes the parties mustmove beyond the normal rhetoric of making empty promises to theelectorates and in effect show the workability of their policies. Thechoice ultimately lies on the voters who must undertake thoroughscrutiny on the party policies and choose the right candidate toadvance the development of the country.

References

Vanderkam,Mark, and Mark Vanderkam. `Penad Pension Services Limited –Pensions For Canadians At Issue In Federal Election`. Penad.com.N.p., 2015. Web. 29 Sept. 2015.

TheGlobe and Mail,. `As Canada’S Economy Takes A Hit, Here’S WhereThe Parties Stand On Key Economic Issues`. N.p., 2015. Web. 29 Sept.2015.

Cbc.ca,.`To Fix Canada`s Infrastructure, Billions Are Just Drops In TheBucket`. N.p., 2015. Web. 29 Sept. 2015.

Cbc.ca,.`Liberal Election Promises From The Campaign Trail So Far`. N.p.,2015. Web. 29 Sept. 2015.

Endnotes

i This refers to July 1, 1867, the year Canada gained independence and held its first election.

ii The Registered Pension Plan (RPP) is the public pension program that covers workers mainly the employed by the government.

iii This refers to 10 years the ruling party, The Conservative Party, has been in power.

iv Job-killing tax is the increased tax rates that will raise the cost of running companies or firms.