Canadians will elect a new government September 20. Each of Canada’s major parties has published a platform that describes the priorities it would implement if elected.
To help voters understand how the parties compare on important consumer protection issues, Consumers Council of Canada has published platform excerpts. The issues selected were identified by the Council’s Public Interest Network (PIN) as the most important current consumer protection matters in recent questionnaires. Comparisons on other policy priorities are available from the CBC and elsewhere.
Those initial seven platform comparison items focused on the electoral platforms of three major national parties: Liberal, Conservative and NDP, but not Green Party or Bloc Quebecois. Here are some platform excerpts from those two parties.
The Green Party published its platform a little later than other parties, and it does not include platform positions on some of the issues identified by the PIN. There is no obvious platform about fraud and identity protection, nor about consumer protection in general. The only references to banking and financial services relate to including banking services at rural Canada Post locations and adding a five per cent surtax on commercial bank profits.
A considerable portion of the platform is devoted to housing issues. It pledges to limit foreign investment and “end predatory practices in residential real estate”, appoint a Federal Housing Advocate, raise the ‘empty home’ tax for foreign and corporate residential property who leave buildings and units vacant, and “crack down on money laundering in Canadian real estate.”
Many of the items under its “investment in housing” category incorporate non-profit and cooperative and supportive housing. For example “build and acquire a minimum of 300,000 units of deeply affordable non-market, co-op and non-profit housing over a decade,” as well as “restore quality, energy efficient housing for seniors, people with special needs and low-income families, by providing financing to non-profit housing organizations, cooperatives, and social housing to build and restore quality and affordable housing.”
On long-term care: the party platform proposes to bring it under the Canada Health Act and create enforceable national standards for care and “provide transformative investment for Seniors care including infrastructure and staffing funding”. The Green Party pledges to stabilize staffing in LTC facilities and invest in training and education to support professional development for workers. It also pledges to shift policy “towards aging in place by having the Seniors’ Care Transfer include transformative investment in home and community care”, and to end “for-profit LTC facilities and reorient LTC towards community-based models.”
A commitment is made to continue to support the Universal Broadband Fund and “retain that funding with an additional $150 M annually over 4 years to reach communities at the lowest end of the eligibility spectrum.”
The platform also promises to “break up telecom monopolies through changes to CRTC regulation to allow for more equitable treatment of rural consumers.”
Without a goal of forming a federal government, the Bloc Quebecois platform instead emphasizes legislative priorities rather than policies it would implement if it gained control of the federal government. Most policies recommend funding and responsibility be redirected to provincial authorities.
Few references are made to the seven categories described earlier. The Bloc does propose a tax on real estate speculation to counter inflated prices as part of a priority to address housing. It proposes that the federal government reorganize various programs from the National Housing Strategy to create an acquisition fund that could allow cooperatives and non-profit organizations to acquire residential properties and preserve affordability in housing.
Though no specific references are made in the Bloc platform to long-term care, a pledge is included to ensure the federal government increases transfers to provinces for health care in general.