Vote Compass: Economy - The parties' positions

This is now the parties responded to three questions about the economy in Vote Compass, and what was behind those answers.

The team of scholars behind Vote Compass gave Canada's five political parties the opportunity to share their input in order to ensure the parties' policies lined up with the way Vote Compass interprets respondents' answers.

All five parties had the chance to answer the Vote Compass questionnaire for themselves, and were given the opportunity to challenge the assessments before the "final codes" went in.

Here are the party positions on three questions about the economy in the Vote Compass questionnaire, and what was behind those answers. Over the next two weeks, CBC News will look at each of the 10 Vote Compass issue areas.

1) When there is an economic problem, government spending usually makes it worse

  • Strongly agree
  • Somewhat agree
  • Neither agree nor disagree
  • Somewhat disagree
  • Strongly disagree
  • Don't know

Conservative Party — Neither agree nor disagree

Stephen Harper's Conservative Government's top priority remains the economy.

Since the global economic recovery is fragile, we are focussed on creating jobs and economic growth by keeping taxes low.

Our Government knows reckless new spending will lead to higher taxes that kill jobs and hurt families.  That's why we are committed to ending stimulus measures as we implement the next phase of Canada's Economic Action Plan.  We will keep taxes low, and ensure that Government spending is prudent and affordable.

Tuesday's announcement signals that — for the first time in a decade — the funding needed to sustain the Government has decreased by over $10 billion. This is in part due to concluding stimulus measures and avoiding reckless new spending commitments.

SourceHarper Government Priorities: Low Taxes, Fiscal Prudence (March 1, 2011)

Liberal Party — Somewhat disagree

One of the reasons why unemployment is so high is the government's failure to get stimulus funding to Canadians who needed jobs at the height of the recession.

SourceJust the Facts: Harper's real economic record (January 31, 2011)

New Democrat Party — Strongly disagree

New Democrats believe in the intelligent and prudent use of government, not just to respond to economic crises, but to play a leadership role in setting a path for future prosperity.

New Democrats believe that economic prosperity for all citizens can be achieved through proper regulation, strategic investments in both physical and social infrastructure and a long-term sustainable economic growth strategy.

SourceInnovating and Prospering in a New Energy Economy

Green Party — Strongly disagree

Around the world, governments invested significant resources to stimulate the economy. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon called for a "Green New Deal" with investments focused on renewable green energy, green jobs and greater energy efficiency. The Obama Administration in the U.S. invested $150 billion in renewable energy to create 1.5 million new jobs. President Obama has an aggressive plan to reduce dependence on imported oil as well as to invest $13 billion in expanded passenger rail. The European Union governments also embraced the Green New Deal, lining up economic objectives with climate-protecting goals. The Government of China made the largest investment in green technology to confront the recession ? $600 billion in new green investments. The Harper Government has made Canada the only country in the industrialized world to cut environmental protection and to reduce investments in green energy as part of a stimulus package.

Source: Vision Green 2011: Green Economy  (April 2011)  

Canada's stimulus spending should stay within the IMF, OECD, G20 and APEC recommendations that governments apply 2% of their GDP to kick-starting the slowing economy. 

A successful economic stimulus should result in long term benefits and move Canada forward into the low-carbon future.  It should help repair our degraded environment to improve the opportunities of future generations and ensure they have access to the resources needed to meet the challenges they will face. It should improve the quality of life of all Canadians and should help redress the inequities faced by First Nations people.

SourceGreen Party Economic Stimulus Package (January 22, 2011)

Bloc Québécois — Strongly disagree

(Text not available in English)

La grave crise financière de 2008 a entraîné l'économie du Québec dans une récession sérieuse. Lorsque les ménages et les entreprises ne parviennent plus à assurer la croissance économique, l'État à le devoir d'intervenir afin d'atténuer les impacts de la récession sur les gens et les entreprises.

Les effets de la crise se font encore sentir sur l'économie du Québec et encore trop de gens subissent les contrecoups de la récession. C'est pourquoi le Bloc Québécois a encore une fois présenté des attentes budgétaires rigoureusement chiffrées au printemps 2010 afin de proposer au gouvernement des mesures raisonnables pour soutenir les entreprises, les travailleurs et travailleuses et les plus démunis afin que le Québec puisse poursuivre adéquatement son développement économique.

SourceAttentes budgétaires 2010 (16 mars 2010)

2) The federal budget deficit should be reduced, even if it leads to fewer public services

  • Strongly agree
  • Somewhat agree
  • Neither agree nor disagree
  • Somewhat disagree
  • Strongly disagree 
  • Don't know

Conservative Party  — Somewhat agree

Through accelerated reductions in government spending, a re-elected Stephen Harper Government will eliminate the deficit by 2014-15, by: completing our stimulus package, as promised; continuing specific measures to restrain the growth of program spending; [and] completing, within one year, a comprehensive review of government spending. [p. 23]

Source: Here for Canada: Stephen Harper's Low-Tax Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth  (April 8, 2011)

I spoke of choices.  Increasing the tax burden?  Cutting spending?  Maintaining deficits?  There is no doubt that these strategies have their supporters in this House.  But, on this side of the House, we have concluded that an economy cannot be taxed into prosperity.  On this side, we have concluded that the deficit must begin to come down, modestly now, but quickly, by next year.  And, on this side, we have concluded that, if we proceed in this manner, spending growth will have to be moderated immediately and priorities selected.  But, we will also be able to avoid the absolute levels of reduction and the kinds of devastating cuts to core services like health care, pensions and education that will occur if we delay, as past governments did after previous recessions.  Those are the choices we have made and the reasons why we've made them.

SourcePM Replies to Speech from the Throne (March 11, 2010)

Liberal Party  — Neither agree nor disagree

A Liberal government will commit to reducing the deficit to one percent of GDP within two years, down from 3.6 percent in 2009-10. We will set subsequent, rolling targets to continue decreasing the deficit every year after that until the country is returned to surplus. Unless Canada is faced with an unexpected second recession, all fiscal planning will be consistent with this anchor.   We will restore a two-year budgeting framework to increase transparency and make steady, measurable progress in deficit reduction. That progress will be driven by rolling, near-term targets that are firm and achievable. In addition, Liberals will restore prudent budget planning, starting with this platform. By its second year, our plan frees up $7 billion through better choices.

We will put some of that money aside in a $3 billion Prudence Reserve, to manage any unforeseen events without missing our targets. If the reserve isn’t needed, it will go toward the deficit. [p. 10]   Source: Your Family. Your Future. Your Canada.  (April 2011)

The Liberal approach to the deficit will be credible and effective, by Committing to a deficit-to-GDP target of 1% within the first two years of a Liberal government, and further declining every year thereafter until the budget is balanced Restoring a fiscal prudence reserve to our budgeting, to provide a buffer to achieve our targets; and Controlling spending, by working with the public service to find targeted, sustainable savings in government, and not proposing anything in our next platform that can't be financed without adding to the deficit.

SourceMichael Ignatieff tells Canada's CEOs: now is not the time to cut corporate taxes again (January 18, 2011)

New Democrat Party  — Somewhat disagree

We will maintain Canada’s commitment to balance the federal budget within the next 4 years, as per the Department of Finance projections. [p. 23]  

Source: Giving Your Family a Break: Practical First Steps  (April 2011)

Growing the economy without addressing the deficit directly can shrink its relative importance.

Source: Correspondence (March 7, 2011)

Bloc Québécois  — Somewhat disagree

(Text not available in English)

Le Bloc Québécois propose de rééquilibrer, à terme, les finances publiques afin d'éviter les déficits chroniques et récurrents. Les mesures préconisées par le Bloc Québécois pour dynamiser l'économie du Québec n'entraîneraient pas des déficits plus importants que ceux prévus par le gouvernement au cours des exercices financiers 2010-2011 et 2011-2012.

De plus, l'approche préconisée par le Bloc Québécois n'occasionnerait pas de compressions dans les transferts aux provinces ni d'augmentation de taxes et d'impôt pour la population et les entreprises — exception faite des entreprises pétrolières, dont on abolirait les cadeaux fiscaux, et celles qui profitent des paradis fiscaux, dont on abolirait les échappatoires. Seuls les contribuables les mieux nantis ainsi que les dirigeants qui bénéficient de primes élevées verraient leurs impôts augmenter.

Source:  Proposition Principale 2011 (fevrier 2011)

Green Party  — Strongly disagree

The Green Party believes in living within our limits, ecologically and fiscally. We are committed to a balanced budget and to reducing the national debt. It won't be easy. To pay down the debt while supporting programs that meet immediate social, economic and environmental needs, we must maintain a healthy and fair level of taxation and we must ensure that Canadians get good value for their tax dollars.

SourceVision Green 2010: Balanced budget — debt reduction (January 2010)

3) Canada should seek closer economic relations with the USA

  • Strongly agree
  • Somewhat agree
  • Neither agree nor disagree
  • Somewhat disagree
  • Strongly disagree
  • Don't know

Conservative Party  — Strongly agree

To protect and create jobs for Canadians, we must protect and strengthen our trade relationship with the United States.

Each country is the other’s largest export market, and our two economies are highly integrated. One in five Canadian jobs is linked to trade with the U.S.; and the U.S. depends on Canada as its largest, most secure, most stable, and friendliest supplier of energy. [p. 11]

Source: Here for Canada: Stephen Harper's Low-Tax Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth  (April 8, 2011)

On Thursday, Peter Van Loan, Canada's Minister of International Trade and Ambassador Ron Kirk, United States Trade Representative met to discuss greater economic cooperation between our two countries and announced an agreement in support of these goals.

Canada and the U.S. have the strongest trade relationship in the world. We are the top export destination for 34 American states, and the U.S. is both the largest foreign investor in Canada and the most popular destination for Canadian investment.

Through these meetings, our Conservative Government is taking action to find ways we can enhance our mutual efforts to create jobs and economic growth for Canadians and Americans alike. 

Conservatives believe that protectionist tendencies are the single greatest threat to long-term recovery in Canada, and for the entire world economy. That's why our Government is committed to open borders and free markets, while understanding that markets require prudent, transparent regulation and oversight. As evident at the G-8 and G-20 Summits, Canadians can count on our Government to oppose protectionism and defend free trade on the world stage. In fact, today's meetings build on the commitments made at the G-20 to avoid protectionism and increase the $1.6 billion in trade that crosses our border every day. The United States has agreed to transfer the Softwood Lumber export charges to Canada. The revenue collected from this tax will stay in Canada and be distributed back to the affected provinces. 

SourceConservatives Take Action to Strengthen Canada-US Trade (July 22, 2010)

Liberal Party  — Somewhat agree

As part of the Global Networks Strategy, a Liberal government will lead and collaborate with partners at home, as well as the more than one million Canadians who live and work in the United States, to raise the profile of the vast and rich Canada-US relationship in America. [p. 78]

Source: Your Family. Your Future. Your Canada.  (April 2011)

The Liberal Party of Canada today called on the Harper government to listen to Canadians and to conduct open and transparent negotiations on a new security perimeter deal with the U.S.

Canadian businesses, farmers, tourists all want more open trade with the U.S.  Canadian jobs depend on real, effective, action against Buy American legislation and the many non-tariff trade barriers that the U.S. has put up to trade from Canada.

SourceHarper's perimeter deal could stick Canadians with billions in new taxes (February 22, 2011)

[O]ur border with the United States remains an obstacle to greater tourism and trade. We need to be thinning the border, not thickening it. (Michael Ignatieff)

SourceRebuilding Canada's Leadership on the World Stage (November 2, 2010)

Bloc Québécois  — Somewhat agree

(Text not available in English)

Le Bloc Québécois considère que les États-Unis sont un important partenaire commercial pour le Québec et que cette relation doit effectivement être renforcée. Cependant, certains éléments doivent être préservés, comme les secteurs clés des marchés publics, mais aussi certaines ressources naturelles essentielles, comme l'eau. Dans tous les cas, le Bloc Québécois estime qu'il est préférable pour le Québec de préserver un équilibre entre l'ouverture au commerce et le maintien de sa souveraineté économique. Ainsi, le libre-échange ne doit pas devenir un prétexte pour affaiblir certains acquis, comme la gestion de l'offre la ou la politique culturelle du Québec.

De plus, le Bloc Québécois juge opportun pour le Québec de diversifier le plus possibles ses débouchés commerciaux, notamment par la conclusion d'un accord de libre-échange avec l'Union européenne, plutôt que de s'en remettre presque exclusivement au marché américain.

SourcePosition principale (fevrier 2011)

New Democrat Party  — Somewhat disagree

New Democrats believe in: Defending Canadians' economic interests, particularly in terms of foreign investment and takeovers [...] Renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to protect Canadian sovereignty, especially in investment and energy security

SourceRedefining Canada's Place in the World

We should diversify our economic relationships.

Source: Correspondence

Green Party  — Strongly disagree

The Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) process and the continental security perimeter plans emerged out of a continental integration agenda that capitalized on American post-9/11 fear about national security. It built on the NAFTA foundation and sought to bring Canada, Mexico and the U.S. much closer to a common market and customs union. Some have described it as a future North American Union (NAU) using a process similar to that which led to the European Union (i.e. full economic integration first). The Green Party opposes this continental integration agenda as detrimental to Canadian national interests. [p. 119]

Source: Vision Green 2011: North American Union (April 2011)