Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Day 3: Policies Start Rolling

Conservatives: Income splitting for families with minor children - postponed until balanced budget
Liberals: Low income tuition bursaries.
NDP: No policy reported
Bloc: No policy reported

The first real day of the campaign started off with an announcement from Mssrs Harper and Ignatieff.

Mr. Harper announced income splitting for parents with minor children to be implemented as soon as the budget is balanced (estimated to be in 2014).  Mr. Ignatieff countered by announcing a bursary for low income university students.

First, Mr. Harper's proposal.  First off, I agree with delaying his proposal until the budget is balanced.  Secondly, this proposal has a chance to take some pressure off the number of child care spaces by encouraging a parent to stay at home rather than going out to work and pay for childcare.  Third, this proposal is universal - it does not rely on concentration of population in order to create child care spaces.  Fourth, this proposal plays to one of Mr. Harper's strongest bases.  The downside of it, other than having to wait for it, is that it doesn't help a single parent except to possibly free up child care spaces and reduce their cost overall.  Mr. Ignatieff attacked this by questioning why not now - roll back the corporate tax cuts (yes, roll them back - they're already legislated and enacted) and do it now.  Cost $2.5 Billion per year

Mr. Ignatieff's proposal is fairly simple.  Cut a cheque to lower income students.  Great.  More lower income students maybe get to go to university.  Subject to their grades, acceptances, availability of the program they want and other intangibles like availability of student loans.  It is a simple proposal, and plays to young people and their parents.  The downside?  We have a massive deficit - any spending will involve either putting more debt on the backs of students through the national debt - the alternative is raising taxes - which is one of the themes of the campaign for the Liberal.  Here are the details - Cost $1 Billion per year

It should be no secret that I prefer a government to find a way to let me keep more of my money than I prefer one that will cut a cheque.  For this reason, I give the Conservatives a win on this day.

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