PCs release policy blueprint ahead of Nov. 30 election

The ruling Tories released their campaign platform Tuesday, less than two weeks before election day.

Paul Davis says plan is affordable and shows Tories are listening

PC Leader Paul Davis released his party's policy blueprint Tuesday. (CBC)

The ruling Progressive Conservative Party of Newfoundland and Labrador surprised the media Tuesday by unexpectedly releasing a comprehensive policy blueprint, less than two weeks from when voters head to the polls for the province's 20th provincial general election.

Paul Davis on CrossTalk

PC Leader Paul Davis will take calls from the audience on today's show, from 12 noon NT 

Leader Paul Davis described the plan as "costed and affordable," and includes goals of offering the lowest business taxes and electricity rates in Canada, affordable access to post-secondary education and historic growth in tourism.

"Much of what you see here will seem familiar, and that's because we have been open, clear and consistent in saying how and where we want to lead this province," Davis stated during a news conference Tuesday.

"We are already among the best, if not No. 1, on a range of measures; and on my watch, we are going to continue to punch above our weight."

Several new planks

The release of the blueprint was not noted on the party's daily campaign itinerary, and came a day after Davis turned in what many observers say was a strong performance in a televised leaders' debate.

Some of the newer planks in the platform include $2 million for a provincial heart institute, presumptive clauses for workers' compensation, a Crown corporation to manage government's business portfolio, the phasing out of the requirement that seniors spend their own money when accessing long-term care, and the elimination of the under-70 IQ (intelligence quotient) used to determine eligibility for government funded supports and services.

A PC government would also invest some $50 million over four year on a multi-year plan for mental wellness, according to the blueprint.

Davis admitted that some of the goals in the platform are "lofty" and reflect the party's determination to achieve things like excellence in education, leadership in health care and mental wellness, affordable child care and a greater level of food security.

"These and other new announcements are an indication that we are listening to people and ready to adapt to changing circumstances and try new things," Davis said.

One of the toughest challenges for the next government will be coping with the province's fiscal situation.

More details to come

Davis said a PC government will use "rolling" five-year budget plans with benchmarks and fiscal targets that are "renewable every year."

And he re-committed to developing "progressive" partnerships between the public, private and non-for-profit sectors for services such as long-term care.

Davis said the PCs will update the energy plan to include the future development of Gull Island power, wind power and other energy sources.

The PCs plan to release more details of how they plan to govern for the next four years in the coming days, Davis added.

He said the blueprint sets out an agenda that allows the PCs to govern within the province's means, strengthen the economy and "clear paths to opportunity by providing leadership people can trust."

The province's fiscal health will be a "major determinant" in spending and project priorities, Davis added.

Live blog

Get continuous updates from the campaign trail through our live blog.