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article imageCanadian party leaders put forward campaign platforms on Day 4

By Andrew Moran     Mar 29, 2011 in Politics
Brantford - The party leaders are starting to put forth their platforms. New Democrat Jack Layton will cap credit card rates. Prime Minister Stephen Harper wants a tax break for families. Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff is proposing a $1 billion education plan.
It is day four of the Canadian federal election campaign. What are the party leaders proposing? Where are they campaigning? What promises are they making?
New Democratic Party Leader Jack Layton’s plan
On Tuesday, New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton spoke in front of a family home in Brantford as part of a media event where he promised to put a cap on credit card interest rates, according to a press release from the NDP.
Layton explained that Canadians are now holding more household debt than ever before and they pay one of the highest credit card fees in the world, but banks are still benefitting from “record-low interest rates.”
This is why the NDP has put forth a proposal that would cap credit card rates at prime +5 percent. “It’s time Canadian families got a break. This recession has forced many families to turn to their credit cards just to make ends meet. As a result, the average Canadian family is now $100,000 in debt.”
The NDP leader also said his government would clampdown on “excessive transaction charges,” while implementing Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s credit card and transaction Code of Ethics into law, which, notes Layton, is “voluntary.”
Layton managed to take a jab at Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservatives by accusing them of not regulating interest rates and the credit card industry, including the fees charged.
“I believe we need strong banks for a healthy economy,” said Layton. “But when Canadians invest that kind of money, I think they deserve to get something in return.”
To calculate the NDP’s plan, click here.
Stephen Harper
Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper
Photo courtesy Conservative Party of Canada
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s plan
A re-elected Conservative government would introduce the $2.5 billion Family Tax Cut, which will allow 1.8 million families to save approximately $1,300 per year, according to the Prime Minister in a Tuesday press release.
Speaking on the campaign trail, Harper promised the tax break would give spouses with children under the age of 18 the opportunity to divide their household incomes up to $50,000.
The plan, though, would only come into effect after the budget is balanced, which is expected to occur in 2015.
“Since taking office in 2006, our Government has consistently lowered taxes on Canadian families so that they can keep more of their hard-earned money and have the financial security to raise their children and plan for the future,” said Harper. “Thanks to our low-tax plan, the average Canadian family is already paying $3,000 less in taxes each and every year.”
Liberal Party Leader Michael Ignatieff’s plan
During a media event at the Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning in Oakville, Ontario Tuesday, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff announced that his government would put forward a “historic” Learning Passport.
Michael Ignatieff with Bob Rae
Michael Ignatieff with Bob Rae
Photo by terfe
The initiative is a $1 billion plan that would provide students $1,000 per year for post-secondary education, according to a Liberal Party press release. Students from low-income families would receive $1,500 per year, up to $6,000 over the course of four years.
“The message we will give every one of our kids is if you get the grades, you get to go,” said Ignatieff. “Right across the country, families are struggling to save enough to give their kids a shot at college or university. We’re standing with them."
The new Learning Passport funds would be distributed through the Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP), plus students and families would not have to match those funds given by the government of Canada.
“We can strengthen families – without raising your taxes – if we stop corporate giveaways, control wasteful spending, and focus on what really matters: giving every Canadian the tools to succeed in the years ahead.”
More about Jack Layton, Canada Election 2011, Credit cards, Stephen Harper, Michael Ignatieff
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