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Thursday
Apr212011

Liberal Party (LPC): Family, Parenting and Women's Issues

This week, I’ll be posting highlights from the platforms of Canada’s five major political parties, focusing on their policies and promises with regards to family, parenting and women’s issues. I am going to try (but do not promise!) to simply report on or summarize what they have promised, rather than providing colour commentary in my posts. However, I am happy to have detailed conversations about the value and feasibility of the proposals in the comments on each post.



Image credit: Michael Ignatieff


Liberal Party of Canada


The Liberal Party's full platform is available online at http://www.liberal.ca/platform/. The slogan for the Liberal Party's platform is "Your Family. Your Future. Your Canada." This is a very long platform and there is a fair bit of explanation (rationale) along with the promises and quite a bit of repetition (i.e. things being mentioned in more than one section of the document). So, after a long, long read, I hope I caught all the important elements.

Some of the key promises in the Liberal platform relating to families, parents and women are:

Education and Child Care



  • New Early Childhood Learning and Care Fund that will begin with $500 million in the first year rising to $1 billion by the fourth year. Provinces and territories would apply to the Fund for cost-sharing of early childhood learning and care plans that create new care spaces with well-trained professional staff.

  • Canadian Learning Passport worth $1 billion annually with the motto "If you get the grades, you get to go." Gives $100 per year over four years for every high school student in Canada to use for college, university or CEGEP. For students in low income families, the amount will be $1,500 per year for four years. (Note: I wrote about this proposal on Care2 Causes).

  • Will forgive $1500 in student loan debt for young Canadians who engage in volunteer service.

  • Working with Aboriginal leadership, invest $200 million in its first two years into post-secondary education for Aboriginal students and $300 million in its second year in K-12 Aboriginal education. Create a $5 million annual investment in Métis students.

  • Invest $120 million over the first two years into Veterans Learning Benefit to help smooth the reintegration of Canadian Forces personnel into society and the workforce.

  • Invest $100 million annually within four years to improve and expand language skills training programs for immigrants.


Family Care and Finances



  • New six month Family Care Employment Insurance Benefit to allow Canadians to take time off work to care for gravely ill family members at home without having to quit their jobs.

  • New Family Care Tax Benefit, modeled on the Child Tax Benefit, to help low- and middle-income family caregivers who provide essential care to a gravely ill family members at home.

  • Gradual increase of the defined benefits under the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and implement a new voluntary supplement to the CPP called the Secure Retirement Option (allowing Canadians to save an additional 5 to 10% in a secure CPP backed retirement fund).

  • Increase Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) benefits for low-income seniors.


Health, Nutrition and Food Safety



  • Address increasing obesity rates in Canadian youth by introducing:

    • new Healthy Choices program to education Canadians about healthy eating, the food system, and minimizing threats to food safety

    • new, progressive labelling regulations that give clear and simple information to Canadians

    • new regulatory standards on transfats and salt

    • $400 million annual investment in Health Start program to help 250,000 children from low-income families to access healthy, home-grown foods.

    • $80 million investment over four years to create a Buy Local Fund to promote high-quality, homegrown foods produced by local farmers and support a Farmers' Market Development Program

    • comprehensive review of Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada to ensure Canada's food safety system is effectively coordinated to minimize risks and assure Canadians that their food is safe

    • $50 million investment over four years to improve food inspection and food standards



  • Brain health strategy focusing on awareness, education, prevention, research, income security, treatment and support, and preventing genetic discrimination.

  • Pan-Canadian collaboration on quality improvement, innovation and best practices in health care

  • New incentive for doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners to practice in underserved rural communities (includes forgiving student loans of up to $40,000 for family doctors and up to $20,000 for nurses and nurse practitioners).

  • Ensure Canadians across the country have a drug plan that covers the cost of prescription drugs for expensive illnesses and also look into ways to lower the cost of prescription drugs (e.g. expanding bulk purchasing).


Housing and Community Infrastructure



  • Green Renovation Tax Credit that allows Canadians to claim a tax credit of up to $13,500 for making energy efficient changes to their homes.

  • Implement a renewed Afforable Housing Framework that aims to reduce homelessness, maintain and renew existing affordable housing stock, and stimulate new construction of affordable housing.

  • Variety of initiatives aimed at municipal infrastructure and transit.


Women's Issues



  • Mandate a national task force to examine the systemic causes of violence against Aboriginal women.

  • Reinstate the Court Challenges Program that provides financial assistance for pursuing language and equality rights under Canada's Constitution (cancelled by Conservative government).

  • Create an effective, proactive system for implementing and monitoring pay equity at the federal level.


Other Priorities



  • 100% coverage of high-speed Internet across rural Canada (I include this because if we had this now, I would be able to work from home more often, so it is a key family issue for me)

  • Poverty Reduction Plan worth $5 billion over two years.

  • Youth Hiring Incentive for small and medium-sized business (100% EI holiday for every Canadian youth age 18 to 25 that they hire)


What do you think of the Liberal Party’s platform? Do their promises sound like a good fit for your family? For our country?


Please also check out my Care2 Causes post called Tools to Help You Navigate the Canadian Election and my Bad Moms Club post called If the Political Parties Were Bad Moms. If you want to discuss politics with other moms, also be sure to check out the #momthevote hash tag on twitter and the Mom The Vote facebook page.
« Bloc Quebecois (BQ): Family, Parenting and Women’s Issues | Main | Green Party (GPC): Family, Parenting and Women's Issues »

Reader Comments (4)

This is all great, however you've never discussed where any of the money is coming from to finance these programs. A politician can promise us the moon, but what good is that if we don't know what we have to give up to get it.

April 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDenise

Denise:

The sources of funds and the dollar amounts for each year are listed in the platform. The table doesn't copy well to the comments here, but the items listed in it are:

Return corporate tax rate to 18%
Wireless Spectrum Auction revenue
Cap on stock option deductions
Cancel PPP fund
Immediately end oil sands tax break
Spending review and reallocation

April 24, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

I feel like the LPC platform answers a lot of my questions (perhaps due to the detail provided). I like their focus on youth health as by having programs that focus on this now it will save us money in the long run (unhealthy habits are only going to cost us more as the children grow up).

April 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJen

I like the sentiments, but I see a huge spaghetti mess of programs running in all directions and establishing new accounts, credits and (eek) task forces and committees. At least they didn't promise a royal commission!

I think the feel is something like the CPC's grab bag of little tax credits, but with slightly less evil and somewhat better bumps for low-income Canadians. I think getting high-speed Internet coverage to all Canadians is a good idea (so long as they can deal with UBB). I'm also keen on seeing the Court Challenges program restored (something that seems popular among opposition parties this election). Making elder-care and care for ill family members eligible for child-care-type initiatives seems like a good idea. "Pan-Canadian collaboration on quality improvement, innovation and best practices in health care" is so broad as to be completely meaningless.

April 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEric

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