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Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff picks up 4-month-old Maeby Robertson, as he attends a rally at the campaign office in Kitchener Centre Friday, April 1, 2011 on a campaign stop in Kitchener, Ont. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press/Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)
Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff picks up 4-month-old Maeby Robertson, as he attends a rally at the campaign office in Kitchener Centre Friday, April 1, 2011 on a campaign stop in Kitchener, Ont. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press/Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

Liberal platform to focus on help for struggling families Add to ...

Michael Ignatieff will release an election platform on Sunday that offers a stark contrast between the Liberal view of a more socially compassionate if higher-taxed Canada and the Conservative emphasis on boosting the economy.

Called "The Family Pack," the platform will embrace themes that aim to prove the Liberals are offering not simply a free ride, but a way forward for strapped families seeking to balance the needs of students aiming for college with those of the elderly in need of care.

The catch: These commitments, which Mr. Ignatieff has said are "fully costed down to the last dollar," would lead to significantly higher corporate taxes, which the Liberals believe would generate up to $6-billion in additional revenue.

The platform will also reveal as-yet-unannounced plans to roll back Conservative spending priorities. Expect the Liberals to propose less money for prisons, more for daycare.

The Conservatives, whose March budget proposal is, in essence, their entire platform, will argue that the Liberals are offering unaffordable baubles while seeking to undermine Canadian businesses and putting jobs at risk. Voters will decide on May 2 which priorities matter more to them.

Here are the pillars of the Liberal election platform, and what to expect within them.

Families

» The equivalent of unemployment insurance for someone who must suddenly stop working to care for a family member;

» A tax credit for lower- and middle-income earners who look after a family member in need of care. Both initiatives combined will cost $1-billion.

» $500-million, annually growing to $1-billion after four years, cost shared with the provinces, to create new child-care facilities and spaces.

Compassion

» A $700-million boost to the Guaranteed Income Supplement to lift the lowest-income seniors out of poverty.

» A program to allow Canadians to increase their contributions to, and benefits from, their Canada Pension Plan.

Meritocracy

» $1,000 per year for four years - more for students from low-income families - to help defray university and college tuition costs and expenses. Total cost: $1-billion.

Pluralism

» While preserving existing levels of immigration, among the highest in the world, Liberals would raise the caps on family-class immigration, allowing more new Canadians to bring over relatives.

-- The Liberals would scrap Conservative plans to detain refugee claimants who arrive en masse by boat.

Foreign Policy

» The Liberals would restore what they believe is Canada's diminished standing in the world through a renewed emphasis on multilateral engagement, peacekeeping, commitment to the United Nations and action against global warming.

Democracy

» A "People's Question Period," in which Mr. Ignatieff and his cabinet would take questions online every week.

» Greater independence and resources for the Parliamentary Budget Officer.

Environment

» Cut carbon-dioxide emissions through a cap-and-trade system to reduce industrial and energy-industry emissions.

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