NDP to unveil balanced budget platform
NDP Leader Jack Layton unveils his party's platform Sunday morning, a document he has pledged will be fully costed and will balance the budget in four years without cuts to services.
Campaigning in Saskatchewan on Saturday, Layton was tight-lipped about specifics, but he promised the document, to be released in Toronto at 11 a.m. ET, will be carefully budgeted.
"We are going to cost out and indicate absolutely every step that we will be taking to achieve the balanced budgets and make sure the services are there for Canadians," Layton said.
On the campaign trail, Layton has already announced a number of policy commitments, including bringing back the 2008 corporate tax rate of 19.5 per cent to help pay for other measures of the NDP's plan.
He has also promised to cap credit card rates and fees, hire 1,200 doctors and 6,000 nurses, boost the seniors guaranteed income supplement and gradually double the benefit seniors get from the Canada Pension Plan and the Quebec Pension Plan.
And Layton has called for a defence policy that prioritizes ships over fighter jets, and a crime prevention and community safety program that would cost roughly $250 million. Part of this strategy would include hiring 2,500 more police officers and making gang recruiting illegal. The Conservatives, Liberals and Green Party have already released their election platforms.
Rival parties have released platforms
The Conservative platform included pledges to eliminate the federal deficit by 2014-15 — a year earlier than forecast in the party's most recent budget. The Tories didn't say exactly how they would find the $11 billion in savings needed to balance the books early, but leader Stephen Harper said they would find efficiencies through a strategic and operating expense review.
Harper said the Conservatives would also bring in legislation to curb crime and would support families and businesses.
The Liberals focused on families in their platform, laying out five priority areas in an $8-billion, two-year strategy. The plan included support for early childhood education, post-secondary students and people caring for elderly parents or sick relatives. It also included changes to the pension system and a green renovation tax credit.
The Green Party said it would boost corporate taxes to 19 per cent and charge $60 per tonne of carbon emissions — but it promised a revenue-neutral "green tax shift" that would cut EI and CPP contributions for both workers and employers.
Harper will be in Quebec on Sunday, stopping at Saint-Hyacinthe for a campaign event in the morning and Chicoutimi for a rally in the afternoon. Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff will take the day off the campaign trail.
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May is scheduled to be in Guelph, Ont., before heading to Hamilton for another "rally for democracy" event to protest the decision by a consortium of broadcasters, including the CBC, to exclude her from the leadership debates.