CBC News Federal Election

The 2000 Red Book


For the past 11 years, the Liberal Party of Canada has put its promises into print in a series of pre-election policy documents known as the Red Books. These publications make it possible for voters to hold the party accountable for how well it has kept its promises.

In 1993, Jean Chrétien�s Liberals had been out of government for almost a decade. Platform co-chairs Paul Martin and Chaviva Hosek consulted coast to coast for more than a year before coming up with the series of policies that put the party back on the government side of the House. The 112-page book they co-authored, entitled Creating Opportunity: The Liberal Plan for Canada, was immediately nicknamed the Red Book because of the colour of its cover.

The 1997 version was 10 pages skinnier, as Chrétien�s team consolidated its control over spending and grew more careful about making promises that might turn into quagmires. Few people have forgotten the party's unkept 1993 pledge to scrap the GST, for example. The second Red Book�s title reflected the party�s stay-the-course plan: Securing Our Future Together: Preparing Canada for the 21st Century.

Leading up to the 2000 election, Chrétien was in a position of strength, facing a divided field of foes. The Canadian Alliance under Stockwell Day looked likely to form the official Opposition at best. The third Red Book, titled Opportunity for All: The Liberal Plan for the Future of Canada, reflected the contemporary view of Chr�tien�s Liberals: that a large part of their continued success was due to their strategy of not promising or making major structural changes in the way Canada operated.

In fact, the party�s plan in 2000 consisted of simple commitments, many of which had not been just promised, but already tackled in the months leading up to the November vote. And they were contained in an economical 32 pages -- including the covers, which, naturally, were a bright, bright red.

CBC.ca has tracked every promise in that pamphlet to see what action has been taken since November 2000. Where possible, we�ve sought feedback from lobby and industry groups as well as the government departments involved.

Obviously, some of the government�s most pressing issues over the past four years could not have been foreseen in 2000. The new priorities include beefing up national security in the wake of the Sept.11 attacks against the United States, dealing with the mad-cow crisis, and responding to court rulings legalizing same-sex marriage.

Promises Totals

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2000 Red Book - Contents

Children and Parents
First Nations
Health Care
Human Rights
Justice and Crime
Natural Resources
Official Languages
Science and Technology
Seniors and Youth
Taxes and Fiscal Policy
Trade and Foreign Policy
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