Politics

A round-up of federal party platforms — and CBC's platform fact checks

The team at CBC News has tried to keep the parties honest by fact-checking key claims made by the leaders and their platforms.

All six major federal parties have published election platforms

Top row, from left: Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. Bottom, from left: Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, BQ Leader Yves-François Blanchet, People's Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier. (CBC News)

Party platforms play a huge role in helping many voters make up their minds in time for election day.

They offer a direct look at each party's priorities and explain how they would try to achieve them.

All six major parties have published platforms, though some waited until later into the campaign than others to do so. 

This was the first federal election in which parties had the option of having individual promises costed by the non-partisan Parliamentary Budget Officer, giving voters another tool to weigh campaign commitments.

The team at CBC News has tried to keep the parties honest by fact-checking key claims made by the leaders and their platforms. Below is a round up of elements of each party's platform, with links to some relevant fact checks.

Liberals

The Liberal election platform is called Forward: A Real Plan for the Middle Class:

Mobile users: View the document
(PDF KB)
(Text KB)
CBC is not responsible for 3rd party content

You can browse the Parliamentary Budget Officer's costing of promises submitted by the Liberals here.

As the incumbent party, the Liberals have found themselves defending their majority government's record while emphasizing their vision for the country's future.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has devoted a lot of energy to highlighting the steps his government has taken to curb rising global temperatures, including the controversial carbon tax.

The Liberals' have adopted policies that would get us three-quarters of the way to fulfilling emissions reductions first set by Stephen Harper's Conservative government. Their rivals, especially the Green Party, argue that those targets are not ambitious enough.

Trudeau also committed to getting Canada on track to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, the core goal of the most recent United Nations climate summit — a promise that could prove politically troublesome, given opposition from Conservatives at both the federal and provincial levels.

The Liberal leader has also boasted that his government cut taxes for the "middle class" by dropping the tax rate on earnings between $45,282 and $90,563 to 20.5 per cent from 22 per cent. The Department of Finance calculates the move has benefited more than nine million people.

The Liberals have promised to raise raise the basic personal income tax deduction to $15,000 for people earning under $147,000 — meaning those people would only pay taxes on income over that amount. Such a policy would benefit low-income earners the most.

Trudeau's campaign also has rolled out a set of gun control policies, including a promise to allow municipalities to enact local handgun bans. But weapons experts have expressed doubts about how effective municipal bans would be in curbing gun crime.

Conservatives

The Conservative platform is called Andrew Scheer's Plan for You to Get Ahead:

Mobile users: View the document
(PDF KB)
(Text KB)
CBC is not responsible for 3rd party content

You can browse the non-partisan Parliamentary Budget Officer's costing of promises submitted by the Conservatives here.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has run a campaign largely focused on pocketbook issues and saving taxpayers money. 

A key part of fulfilling those promises is a commitment to scrap the carbon tax introduced by the Trudeau Liberals. While the Tories have made misleading claims about what it would cost Canadians to keep the carbon levy, Scheer says that repealing it would be his government's first order of business.

The party rolled out its own package of climate change proposals that it says would give the country its "best chance" to meet our Paris Agreement emissions reduction target. That claim has been thoroughly rejected by experts in the field

The Conservative campaign has also proposed a cut to the income tax rate for the lowest bracket, from 15 per cent to 13.75 per cent by 2023. One economist called the proposal "unambiguously more progressive" than the "middle class" tax cut introduced by the Liberals.

The Conservative leader has also promised a host of boutique tax credits, though some experts have questioned whether they would actually influence taxpayers' behaviour.

Further, Scheer has said he would roll back a series of small business tax changes implemented by the Liberals in 2017 and 2018. Trudeau has attacked the proposal, saying it would amount to a tax cut of $50,000 for "multi-millionaires." That's an oversimplification, but the Tory pledge would benefit wealthy owners of private corporations the most.

The Conservatives also have committed to balancing the federal budget by the 2024-2025 fiscal year. Their path back to black includes vows to end corporate subsidies and slash Canada's foreign aid budget by 25 per cent.

New Democrats

The NDP's election platform is called A New Deal for People: New Democrats' Commitments to You:

Mobile users: View the document
(PDF KB)
(Text KB)
CBC is not responsible for 3rd party content

You can browse the non-partisan Parliamentary Budget Officer's costing of promises submitted by the NDP here.

The NDP's campaign includes ambitious proposals aimed at closing gaps in the country's social safety net and curbing climate change. Some of the key pledges, however, come with a high degree of fiscal uncertainty.

Prominent among those promises is a commitment to implement universal pharmacare for all Canadians, whether they have insurance or not, within the first two years of an NDP government's mandate. The party says the program would save an average family about $500 each year.

The New Democrats also have said they would establish a national dental care program for uninsured Canadians with household incomes below $90,000 in their first year in government. Many health care experts praised the plan, though some cautioned that key details that would determine the feasibility of the promise were left unanswered.

On the campaign trail, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has argued that inexplicably expensive cellular plans are adding the affordability burden many families face. He said that an NDP government would put a price cap on cell plans until costs come down.

Further, Singh pledged to build 500,000 affordable homes over the next decade, with half of them to be constructed within five years. The NDP also claims that its climate change plan could create about 300,000 new jobs, which experts said is not an unrealistic figure.

As for paying for their commitments, the New Democrats say they would impose a new wealth tax on Canadians with fortunes of $20 million or more, increase the corporate tax rate and levy a foreign home buyers tax.

Greens

The Greens' election platform is called Honest. Ethical. Caring. Leadership:

Mobile users: View the document
(PDF KB)
(Text KB)
CBC is not responsible for 3rd party content

You can browse the non-partisan Parliamentary Budget Officer's costing of promises submitted by the Greens here.

Taken together, the Greens' commitments would amount to a fundamental reordering of Canadian society, a reality that leader Elizabeth May has embraced and promoted on the campaign trail.

Naturally, the environment is front and centre in their platform. The Greens have promised to set a new emissions reduction target for Canada of 60 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. That's double our current target and in line with recommendations from the International Panel on Climate Change.

May also says that a Green government would put Canada on course to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

The party has also committed to retrofitting every single building in the country, re-training fossil fuel workers for jobs in a new green economy, scrapping all fossil fuel subsidies and cancelling the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

Like the NDP, the Greens have promised to implement a universal pharmacare program. They have also pledged to provide free dental care for low-income Canadians.

To find new sources of revenue, May says she would raise the corporate tax rate from 15 to 31 per cent and tax some financial transactions.

The Greens initially faced criticism about their platform costing. The party revised some of its numbers and was able to rebut some scepticism, though questions remain about its fiscal feasibility.

Bloc Québécois

The Bloc's election platform is called Le Québec, c'est nous (Quebec is us):

Mobile users: View the document
(PDF KB)
(Text KB)
CBC is not responsible for 3rd party content

You can browse the non-partisan Parliamentary Budget Officer's costing of promises submitted by Bloc here.

Unsurprisingly, the Bloc's platform is focused largely on advancing the interests of Quebec.

That includes a call for Ottawa to hike transfers to the province for health, social programs and education by 6 per cent annually for four years, representing an additional $17 billion going to Quebec.

The Bloc would also increase federal spending by $54 billion over four years, which would be partly paid for by introducing a new tax on internet giants, cracking down on tax havens and ending tax breaks for the oil and gas sector.

The party's platform also includes something they've dubbed "green equalization."

Essentially, a Bloc government would force provinces in which per capita emissions are higher than the Canadian average to pay more carbon tax, and that money would be redistributed to provinces making the most progress on curbing emissions. Quebec would benefit considerably from this plan, since its hydroelectric power generation has put it closest among provinces to achieving its emissions targets.

The Bloc has also promised to frustrate any attempt by the federal government to interfere in the future of Bill 21. 

Bloc Leader Yves-François Blanchet also says he supports both a reduction in immigration levels and a so-called "values test" for newcomers.

People's Party of Canada

The People's Party of Canada has not posted a single platform document. Instead, it has published its various policy proposals individually. The list can be found here.

The PPC did not provide a costing document and did not submit any of its commitments for costing by the non-partisan Parliamentary Budget Officer.

PPC Leader Maxime Bernier says his main priorities are slashing immigrations levels, balancing the budget and re-evaluating any plans to fight climate change.

Bernier says that he does not believe there is a climate emergency and the PCC would abandon the Paris Agreement and scrap "unrealistic" emissions reduction targets.

The PPC says it would balance the federal budget within two years by cutting corporate welfare, foreign development aid and the subsidy for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and by ending equalization payments for the provinces.

The party would cut immigration to between 100,000 and 150,000 entrants per year and put a focus on skilled immigration. In promoting his immigration plan, Bernier has made a false claim about so-called "subsidized" immigrants. 

With files from Abby Plener, Earvin Solitario and Lucas Powers

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

...

Thank you for subscribing to CBC Newsletters. Discover more CBC Newsletters.

Happy reading!

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.