The NDP is proposing to spend $38.5-billion over five years on a national pharmacare plan, plus $11-billion more for dental coverage, as part of a platform that would expand government spending by $214-billion over that period.
To pay for part of it, the NDP proposes $166-billion in new tax revenues, including expanded levies on capital gains, corporations, and a wealth tax, which would add a one-per-cent tax on those with more than $10-million in wealth.
The party released the financial details for its campaign promises on Saturday at a stop in Vancouver. With just over a week left in the federal campaign before election day on Sept. 20 – and after many Canadians have already started voting in advanced polls – the NDP is the last of the three major parties to share those details.
Highlights of the costed platform include $49-billion raised through the party’s proposed wealth tax, as well as a one-time, excess-profits tax, worth $14-billion, on corporations that have made significant income during the pandemic. The party is also pledging to spend $30-billion on reconciliation, including funds to comply with Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings to compensate Indigenous families who have been victims of discrimination. The late reveal of the NDP’s financial outlines mean that some Canadians have already voted without this information.
The Conservatives released their platform at the start of the campaign, and last week, shared the costing just hours before the first official leaders’ debate. The Liberals released their costed platform on Sept. 1.
“The costing is just more details about what we’ve always said,” Mr. Singh said. He added that his party has told Canadians from the beginning that they’re going to make billionaires pay their fair share and invest in programs that people need.
“That’s what this document shows. We’ve long said we’re going to invest in people in really bold ways, and we continue to maintain that position,” he said.
The NDP proposes a hefty permanent increase in government spending that would see the size of government expand, but it would also raise revenues through a series of new and higher taxes, including on capital gains, wealth and corporations.
In all, the NDP platform calls for $214.5-billion in new spending over five years – but the party also proposes raising $166.4-billion in new revenues over the same period.
It is a package of promises whose costs dwarf those of the Liberal and Conservative platforms. The cost of the Liberals’ spending promises, $78-billion, amounted to about a third of the NDP’s, while the Conservatives platform entailed a net cost of $51-billion, after cutting the Liberals’ already-budgeted child-care program. The Liberals would set aside $27-billion over five years to cover the funding deals they signed with some provinces for their proposed $10-a-day child care.
The NDP projects it would run higher deficits than either the Conservatives or the Liberals, but not massively higher, because of the promised new taxes. However, the Parliamentary Budget Officer notes there is uncertainty in estimates of the revenues that would be raised by several of those new or larger levies, because taxpayers might have a “behavioural response” – such as moving money to avoid taxes.
In terms of revenue, the party plans to find $10-billion by cracking down on tax havens, as well as $40-billion by bringing the capital-gains inclusion rate to 2010 levels, which would expand the amount of profit subject to the tax. There are also projections for an additional $20-billion by returning the corporate income tax rate to 2010 levels.
The NDP plans to spend on a wide range of social programs. In addition to $68-billion in health care, there’s also $150-million per year for rural broadband, as well as $10-million, starting in 2022-23 for a period poverty fund.
The NDP’s spending on health-related programs, taken broadly, would outpace those of other parties, because of its pharmacare and dental plans, along with the party’s proposal to spend $7.4-billion over five years to take for-profit companies out of long-term care.
The Liberals say they would spend $25-billion on health-related items, although some of the promised spending items, like a $1-billion fund for vaccine passports, aren’t for health services, and the party’s health care spending is closer to $21-billion. The Conservatives health-care spending would total $5.1-billion over five years.
Party officials acknowledged that the NDP doesn’t have a plan to get to a balanced budget. Though they say the party needs to get there eventually, they want to continue putting funds into fighting the pandemic and an economic recovery.
The NDP was the first party to release its platform on Aug. 12, a few days before the election was even called. The document, titled “Ready for Better,” was originally billed as a list of their commitments, and the party said it would cost its promises out if an election did indeed happen.
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