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Experts weigh in on Liberal Family Pack

OTTAWA (NEWS1130) – The Liberals were the first party in the campaign to release their complete federal election platform and all the associated costs.

The Liberal “family pack” is heavy with goodies focused on the family. One the major planks is called the “family pack,” with money for post-secondary school, day care, family care, pensions and a permanent “green renovation” tax credit.

Liberal MP John McCallum says while it would be paid for by bumping up corporate tax rates, it’s really not a lot. “Instead of cutting corporate taxes, we will freeze them at at the 2010 level of 18 per cent. It’s already highly competitive, and so our big companies do fine at 18 per cent,” he explains.

But Jack Mintz with the School of Policy Studies at University of Calgary tells the National Post corporate tax bumps are “irresponsible” policy that would threaten up to $50 billion in capital spending and cost 200,000 jobs.

Massey College public policy specialist Akaash Maharaj, who worked on the previous Liberal Red Book, disagrees.  “In order to argue that the increases would cost that many jobs, you’d have to be able to demonstrate the cuts generated hundreds of thousands of jobs. Not even the Conservative Party is claiming that.”

Maharaj admits he is surprised at the aggressive tax-and-spend stance taken by the Liberals.

“One of the stronger criticisms they might have chosen to make of the Conservative government is that they’ve been fiscally irresponsible, that the previous Liberal government had paid down the debt and eliminated the deficit. But instead of fighting on those grounds, they seem to have accepted the criticism that they are a tax-and-spend party and decided to tax and spend.”

But Maharaj notes that, at least politically, the “family pack” is very effective at differentiating the Liberals from the Conservatives.


NDP pitch pensions

The NDP also wants to see a better Canada Pension Plan.  Leader Jack Layton says the past two governments have neglected the CPP.

Layton is proposing to gradually double CPP and QPP benefits, a measure that would require a 2.5 per cent increase in payroll deductions.

He’s also pledging to add $700 million to the Guaranteed Income Supplement to help seniors in the lowest income brackets.

Let the polls speak

There are four weeks to go until we head to the polls and a pair of new surveys out suggest the Tories will form the next government.

The Leger poll claims the Liberals have gained slightly at the end of the first week, up three points to 26 per cent.  The survey shows the Conservatives numbers are down two points to 37.

Nanos Research found the Tories are in majority zone at 42 per cent.  That poll says Liberals are sitting at just 28 per cent.

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