New Canadian PM Justin Trudeau’s platforms and promises

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Justin Trudeau
Canada's Liberal leader and Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference in Ottawa, Ontario, October 20, 2015. Reuters/Chris Wattie

Newly elected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered a wide array of promises on his platform, ranging from tax issues to the country’s budget and pension, in the lead up to the 2015 Canadian Elections. But Canada has yet to see if these promises will be fulfilled during the course of his term as prime minister. 

These are the Liberals’ platform, headed by Trudeau, and some of the promises the party made to the people.

Lowering of taxes

Trudeau plans to cut the current tax rate of 22 percent and lower it to 20.5 percent for the middle-class income-tax bracket. In line with this, the party also plans to create a new tax bracket of 33 percent for annual incomes exceeding CA$200,000 (AU$211,000). To add to that, federal income tax rate will be lowered to 20.5 percent for those with incomes between CA$44,700 and CA$89,401 (AU$47,141 and AU$94,284). In return, the loss will be paid for by raising taxes of the wealthiest one percent of the country.

The party also plans to bring in new tax-free child benefits to replace the current universal child benefit from the Conservatives. This new Canada Child Benefit is set to boost payments to all families with children which have an annual income below CAS150,000. (AU$159,057).

The Liberals also plan for a “2-billion tax break to the top 15 percent of Canadians,” which cancels income-splitting for families. Another thing the party wanted to cancel is the Tax Free Savings Account increase to CA$10,000 (AU$ 10,603) as it would mainly benefit well-off Canadians who need it the least.

The proposed tax cut would reduce up to CA$670 (AU$710) annual tax burden per person.

Budget and Investments

Trudeau’s party also promised to balance the budget for the year 2020, although how it would do so has not yet been explicitly explained. However, the party targets a CA$200 million (AU$212 million) annual investment to develop clean technologies in forestry, fisheries, mining, energy and farming. Another CA$100 million (AU$106 million) is for organisations that promote clean technology firms.

Trudeau also promised to cancel the purchase of F-35 jets which is expected to cost CA$44 billion (AU$47 billion). The Liberals said, “We will immediately launch an open and transparent competition to replace the CF-18 fighter aircraft,” further explaining that the F-35’s first strike capability is not needed to defend the country, according to the National Post.

Work and Pension

The party also plans to cancel the increase of the Old Age Security eligibility age to 67, which was put foward by the Conservatives. At the same time, it is looking to increasing Canada Pension plan contributions and benefits for the people.

When it comes to work, the party is looking to change labour laws to ensure employees in federally regulated industries have the right to ask their bosses for flexible working hours. It also aims to change the rules to allow people to dip into their Registered Retirement Savings Plans to buy a home.

The 43-year-old prime minister is willing to spend over CA$1.5 billion (AU$1.59 billion) in the course of four years on a youth job strategy to help 125,000 young people find jobs. Training will also be funded by the government where CA$200 million (AU$212 million) will be set aside for federal training programs while another CA$50 million (AU$53 million) will help aboriginal people improve their skills and job prospects.

A budget of CA$380 million (AU$402 million) was set to fund the arts and undo the funding cuts made by the Conservatives to the Canadian Broadcasting Communication. An annual budget of CA$200 million (AU$212 million) would be given to research facilities, small business incubators and exporters for three years, while another CA$100 million (AU$106 million) would be for a industrial research assistance program.

Canada Student Grants will also be increased by 50 percent to CA$3,000 (AU$3,181) a year. This means students can wait until they have a stable annual income of at least CA$25, 000 (AU$26,500) before they start paying off their student loans.

Other issues

Trudeau believes the previous government did not do enough to help migrants fleeing Syria. He has promised to accept up to 25,000 refugees, beginning immediately. It’s a 15,000 increase from the Conservatives’ target amount. The Liberals also promised to spend CA$250 million (AU$265 million), including CA$100 million (AU$106 million) in the current fiscal year to support the influx of refugees to the country.

When it comes to the aboriginals who have been making headlines lately, the Liberals promised to “immediately launch a national public inquiry” into the killings and disappearances of indigenous women and girls.

Lastly, legalising marijuana was on Trudeau’s agenda. Although he did not give a specific timeline as to when this will be made, he promised to work on the changes right away as a lot of Canadians are currently engaging with the illegal possession of marijuana, which often ends with them having a criminal record.

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