Over the course of the Federal Election Campaign, Oakville.com will bring our readers an overview of the policies and announcements from each of the major political parties.
From income tax splitting for families, to learning passports, to limits on credit card fees and interest rates, here’s this week’s update from the campaign trail.
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The Conservative Party of Canada
Income Tax Splitting for Parents with Children Under 18
At an campaign stop on Monday, March 28, Stephen Harper announced that a re-elected Conservative government would allow families with children under 18 to split up to $50 000.00 of income, which would give families a significant Federal tax relief. However, this tax relief would not be introduced until the Federal budget is balanced, possibly in 2015. According to Harper’s announcement, the Family Tax Relief cut would bring an average of $1300.00 in tax savings to over 1.8 million families across Canada.
Hiring Credit for Small Business
On Tuesday, March 29, Stephen Harper announced that, if re-elected, the Conservative government would bring a one-year tax break for small businesses to help them hire new employees. The Hiring Credit for Small Business would provide up to $1000.00 in credit to counteract the increase of EI premiums that hiring a new employee would bring. It’s believed that this credit would be available to over 525,000 small business owners and would reduce their payroll costs for 2011 by approximately $165 million. This credit was initially announced in the March 22 budget as a part of the next phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan.
The Liberal Party of Canada
The Canadian Learning Passport
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff announced on Monday, March 28 that a Liberal government would introduce a new way to help Canadian students attend post-secondary school. The $1 billion dollar Canadian Learning Passport is the largest non-repayable federal student assistance, which would provide help directly to families. Learning Passport funds would be managed through the Registered Education Savings Plan and would provide $4000.00 over four years to every high school student who chooses to attend a post-secondary institute. This would increase to $6000.00, $1500.00 per year, for students from low-income families.
Saving for Retirement
On March 30, Michael Ignatieff announced that if elected, a Liberal government would work with the provinces to help Canadians save for retirement. One, by gradually expand the benefits offered by the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) and by creating a Secure Retirement Option, which would offer a voluntary, tax-deductible savings options that would be backed by the existing CPP. In the plan to help seniors, a Liberal government would boost the Guaranteed Income Supplement by $700-million dollars to help reduce poverty among seniors. During the same announcement, Ignatieff announced better protection for Canadians collecting long-term disability benefits and that a Liberal government would create a Stranded Pension Agency that would help Canadians manage pensions after corporate bankruptcies.
New Democratic Party of Canada
Limiting Credit Card Fees and Interest Rates
At a campaign stop on Tuesday, March 29, Jack Layton announced that a NDP government would help families get their debt under control by stepping in and creating legislation that would bring credit card interest fees in check by forcing credit card companies to limit their transaction fees along with capping their interest charges to 5% plus prime. An NDP government would also change the current Credit Card Code of Ethics from voluntary to mandatory.
Small Business Hiring Incentive
On March 30, Layton announced a job creation plan that would reward small businesses across Canada. This plan would include: a drop in the small business tax rate by 2% from 11% to 9%, the creation of a $4500.00 Job Creation Tax Credit for each new hire; a four year extention of the Accelerated Capital Costs Allowance; and by restoring the current Corporate Income Tax to its 2008 level.
The Green Party of Canada
Youth Employment and Education Initiative
In the first days of the election, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May announced that Canada needs to invest in a nation-wide employment and education initiative that would help Canadian youth find placements that would give them the skill and experience they need to compete in the workforce. May called on all party leaders to agree to finding a common ground on this issue.
High Speed Railway Corridors
The Green Party’s second policy proposal calls for the investment in the creation of high-speed rail corridors across Canada.